Comparison of microbial contamination levels among hospital operating rooms and industrial clean rooms

Appl Microbiol. 1968 Mar;16(3):480-6. doi: 10.1128/am.16.3.480-486.1968.


Microbial contamination in industrial clean rooms was compared quantitatively and qualitatively with that of hospital operating rooms. The number of aerobic mesophilic microorganisms which accumulated on stainless-steel strips exposed for periods up to 21 weeks to the intramural air of four operating rooms was at least 1 log higher than the accumulation on strips exposed in four clean rooms, and was essentially the same as that found in two factory areas. Volumetric air samplings showed that there were significantly higher numbers of airborne viable particles per cubic foot of air in operating rooms than in industrial clean rooms. In contrast to clean rooms, where most of the airborne contaminants were those associated with human hair, skin, and respiratory tract, the hospital operating rooms showed a very high level of microorganisms associated with dust and soil.

MeSH terms

  • Air Microbiology*
  • Antisepsis*
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Dust
  • Fungi / isolation & purification
  • Operating Rooms*
  • Soil


  • Dust
  • Soil