Indoor Culturable Fungal Load and Associated Factors among Public Primary School Classrooms in Gondar City, Northwest Ethiopia, 2018: A Cross-sectional Study
BACKGROUND: Fungi are heavy threats to public health in indoor environments, particularly in residential buildings, offices, and schools where people spend a lot of time indoors. This study was conducted to investigate the load of culturable fungi and associated factors in a school indoor environment.
METHODS: Institutional based cross-sectional study was conducted in eight public primary school classrooms in Gondar City from March to April 2018. Settle plate technique was used to determine the culturable fungal load. Log transformed linear regression analysis was employed. The beta-coefficient with a 95% confidence interval was used to determine the degree and direction of the association with a p-value less than 0.05.
RESULTS: The highest and the lowest mean culturable fungal loads recorded were 1140.29 CFU/m3 and 211.25 CFU/m3, respectively. Aspergillus, Mucor, Penicillium, Candida, Microsporum, Trichophyton, Rhizopus, Alternaria and Fusarium species were isolated. Age of buildings (b= -0.122, 95%CI -0.238,-0.007), area of classroom (b= 0.639, 95% CI 0.285, 0.993), temperature (b= -0.189, 95% CI -0.325,-0.047), humidity (b= - 0.023, 95% CI -0.043, -0.002) and PM10 (b= -0.01, 95% CI -0.015,- 0.005) were associated with culturable fungal load.
CONCLUSIONS: High culturable fungal load was found in school classrooms in Gondar City. Age of buildings, area of classrooms, temperature, humidity, and PM10 were predictors of the culturable fungal load. Therefore, proficient corrective methods are needed to combat the problem of indoor air quality in a school indoor environment by controlling factors contributing to growth of fungi.