The index of microbial air contamination
The standard index of microbial air contamination (IMA) for the measurement of microbial air contamination in environments at risk is described. The method quantifies the microbial flow directly related to the contamination of surfaces coming from microbes that reach critical points by falling on to them. The index of microbial air contamination is based on the count of the microbial fallout on to Petri dishes left open to the air according to the 1/1/1 scheme (for 1 h, 1 m from the floor, at least 1 m away from walls or any obstacle). Classes of contamination and maximum acceptable levels have been established. The index of microbial air contamination has been tested in many different places: In hospitals, in food industries, in art galleries, aboard the MIR space station and also in the open air. It has proved to be a reliable and useful tool for monitoring the microbial surface contamination settling from the air in any environment. © 2000 The Hospital Infection Society.