Ants in a hospital environment and their potential as mechanical bacterial vectors

Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2013 Sep-Oct;46(5):637-40. doi: 10.1590/0037-8682-1607-2013.


Introduction: We studied the richness and abundance of ant species, their bacteria and the bacteria isolated from patient clinical samples.

Methods: Ants were collected with baited traps at 64 sites in a public hospital in São Luis, State of Maranhão, Brazil.

Results: In total, 1,659 ants from 14 species were captured. The most frequent species were Crematogaster victima, Solenopsis saevissima, Tapinoma melanocephalum, Camponotus vittatus and Paratrechina fulva. Forty-one species of bacteria were isolated from the ants and 18 from patients.

Conclusions: Ants are potential vehicles for pathogenic and opportunistic bacteria, and they can represent a risk factor in nosocomial infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ants / classification*
  • Ants / microbiology
  • Brazil
  • Cross Infection / transmission
  • Disease Vectors / classification*
  • Hospitals, Public*
  • Humans
  • Population Density
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons