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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Research project: Engineering, environmental and human behavioural factors influencing the colonisation of hospital water outlets by Pseudomonas aeruginosa

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Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic bacterium that can be fatal to immunocompromised patients. A common reservoir of P. aeruginosa in hospitals is biofilm in clinical taps, allowing contamination of the tap water. This study investigates the factors influencing contamination of clinical taps.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa contamination of hospital tap water has been linked to contaminated water outlets. P. aeruginosa is able to form and survive in biofilms, which are sessile microbial communities protected from stresses such as heat and biocides by an extracellular polymeric matrix. Certain tap components have been shown to facilitate P. aeruginosa biofilm formation. Engineering solutions are expensive, and do not eliminate the risk of contamination via human behaviour. This PhD looks to find a practical approach to preventing P. aeruginosa contamination of hospital tap water by investigating the environmental, engineering and human behavioural factors influencing P. aeruginosa contamination of clinical taps.

Funding provider: Healthcare Infection Society

Funding dates: October 2014-October 2017

Related research groups

Biomedical Sciences
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