Fungal contamination of nebuliser devices used by people with cystic fibrosis

J Cyst Fibros. 2016 Jan;15(1):74-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2015.06.004. Epub 2015 Jun 20.


Background: Poor nebuliser hygiene can result in bacterial contamination and risk of infections. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of fungal contamination of nebulisers used by adults with cystic fibrosis.

Methods: A total of 170 nebulisers from 149 subjects were screened by wetting a sterile cotton swab with sterile water and swabbing each drug chamber. The swab was then plated out on Sabouraud and on Scel+agar and incubated at 27 °C for up to 2 weeks.

Results: Fungal cultures were positive in 86 (57.7%) patient's devices. In 28/149 (18.8%), 39/149 (26.2%), 47/149 (31.5%) and 20/149 (13.4%) of subjects Aspergillus species, yeasts, moulds and both yeasts and moulds were isolated respectively. There was no difference in contamination rates between different devices.

Conclusion: Nebuliser devices are frequently contaminated by moulds and yeasts and emphasis should be placed on ensuring adequate nebuliser hygiene.

Keywords: Biofilm; Device; Fungi; Nebuliser.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aerosols
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Expectorants / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Fungi / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers / microbiology*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Quality Improvement


  • Aerosols
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Expectorants