Microbial colonization of nebulizers used by asthmatic children

Herman A. Cohen, Ernesto Kahan*, Zeev Cohen, Michael Sarrell, Sara Beni, Zahi Grosman, Shai Ashkenazi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: The aim of the present study was to determine the microbial colonization of nebulizers used at home by asthmatic children, and to investigate their parents' cleaning and maintenance routines. Methods: The nebulizer equipment used at home by 39 asthmatic children was examined. Swabs taken from the inner surface of the reservoir cups, face masks and filters were cultured. Results were recorded as mean number of colony-forming units per cultured surface. Parents were interviewed regarding their cleaning and disinfection routines. Results: Twenty-six reservoir cups (66.7%), 24 face masks (61.5%), and 18 filters (78.3%) were found to be contaminated. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was isolated from 17 reservoir cups (43.6%) and 12 face masks (30.8%), and Staphylococcus aureus from two face masks (5.1%). None of the parents knew that the nebulizer has a filter and that it requires periodic cleaning or changing; only eight of the parents (20.5%) received maintenance instructions from the medical staff, and only 19 (48.7%) cleaned the nebulizer equipment after use. Conclusion: Home nebulizers are frequently colonized with microorganisms. As recommended, nebulizers should be washed after each use and air-blown dry. Nebulizer maintenance should be emphasized in educational programs for managing asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-458
Number of pages5
JournalPediatrics International
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Asthma
  • Face masks
  • Filters
  • Nebulizers
  • Reservoir cups

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