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Research project

Environmental Microbiome: Hidden Hell of the Hospital (ENEMI)

Status: Ongoing project, start date: 2019, end date: 2021

The environment has potential impact on microbial patient safety. Microbiome of the environment is studied in the old and new hospital.

What we do

About our project

Pathogens causing hospital acquired infections may be exogenous e.g originating from the innate hospital environment. It is currently not known where exactly these pathogens reside and what the micro-composition is from this microbial contamination. It is also known that highly resistant microorganisms can survive in the environment from several days up to weeks. This could mean that nightstands, sinks or tables in the patient environment can act as a continuous source of transmission. This study will give us insight into microbial contamination, resistance genes resides and can change our policy on cleaning and disinfection as well as disinfectants used.

Before-after study;
In May 2018, the Erasmus MC relocated from an old hospital building with mainly multiple-occupancy rooms and shared bathrooms, to a newly constructed hospital with solely single-patient rooms and private bathrooms. This relocation provides us the unique opportunity to study the dynamic of the microbiome of the new hospital and to compare it with the old hospital.

Little is known about the microbiome of the hospital environment. In this study, we will sample the environment of the old (already done) and new hospital building and identify differences in metagenomics 16S/18S rRNA (both bacterial and fungi) relative abundances and test on the presence of resistance genes. We question whether there is a difference in bacterial composition or microbiome in general wards and ICUs, in multi-occupancy or single rooms and the dry or wet environment. 

Our research focus

Our aim is the following
What is the effect of the new environment on contamination, colonization and infection, as compared to the old situation and what are risk factors? 
For this, we study the microbiome 16S and 18S of the environmental samples of the wet and dry environment. We will measure outcome in the old and the new building, dynamics over time of microbiome of the new single rooms. 

Funds & Grants

Intern ErasmusMC; Mrace


  • Dept of Internal Medicine
  • Genetic Laboratory

Our team

Prof Dr Margreet Vos

Dr Juliette Severin

Drs Anja van der Schoor

dr Nikolas Strepis

Prof Dr Andre Uitterlinden

Dr. Robert Kraaij

Drs. Anne F. Voor in ‘t Holt