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Microbial Air Quality in Mass Transport Buses and Work-Related Illness among Bus Drivers of Bangkok Mass Transit Authority$

697

Pipat Luksamijarulkul MSc*, Viboonsri Sundhiyodhin BN*,
Soavalug Luksamijarulkul MSc**, Orawan Kaewboonchoo PhD***
$ Supported by The Thailand Research Fund
* Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University
** Major in Occupational Health, Faculty of Public Health and Environment,
Huacheiwchalermphrakeit University
*** Department of Public Health Nursing, Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University

Abstract


The air quality in mass transport buses, especially air-conditioned buses may affect bus drivers who
work full time. Bus numbers 16, 63, 67 and 166 of the Seventh Bus Zone of Bangkok Mass Transit Authority
were randomly selected to investigate for microbial air quality. Nine air-conditioned buses and 2-4 open-air
buses for each number of the bus (36 air-conditioned buses and 12 open-air buses) were included. Five
points of in-bus air samples in each studied bus were collected by using the Millipore Air Tester. Totally, 180
and 60 air samples collected from air-conditioned buses and open-air buses were cultured for bacterial and
fungal counts. The bus drivers who drove the studied buses were interviewed towards histories of workrelated
illness while working. The results revealed that the mean + SD of bacterial counts in the studied
open-air buses ranged from 358.50 + 146.66 CFU/m3 to 506 + 137.62 CFU/m3; bus number 16 had the
highest level. As well as the mean + SD of fungal counts which ranged from 93.33 + 44.83 CFU/m3 to 302 +
294.65 CFU/m3; bus number 166 had the highest level. Whereas, the mean + SD of bacterial counts in the
studied air-conditioned buses ranged from 115.24 + 136.01 CFU/m3 to 244.69 + 234.85 CFU/m3; bus numbers
16 and 67 had the highest level. As well as the mean + SD of fungal counts which ranged from 18.84 + 39.42
CFU/m3 to 96.13 + 234.76 CFU/m3; bus number 166 had the highest level. When 180 and 60 studied air
samples were analyzed in detail, it was found that 33.33% of the air samples from open-air buses and 6.11%
of air samples from air-conditioned buses had a high level of bacterial counts (> 500 CFU/m3) while 6.67%
of air samples from open-air buses and 2.78% of air samples from air-conditioned buses had a high level of
fungal counts (> 500 CFU/m3). Data from the history of work-related illnesses among the studied bus drivers
showed that 91.67% of open-air bus drivers and 57.28% of air-conditioned bus drivers had symptoms of
work-related illnesses, p = 0.0185.

Keyword : Microbial air quality, Mass transport buses, Work-related illness, Bus drivers



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