Date of Award


Document Type


Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Jeremy Tzeng


Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are significant causes of morbidity and mortality across the United States. These infections may occur due to microbial contamination of ambulatory surfaces, such as door handles and stretchers, and cross-transmission of microorganisms by emergency medical service (EMS) personnel. In this study, we aim to identify the microbial population prevalent in Prisma Health's Ambulance Service System and work to develop efficient and cost-effective disinfection practices that would minimize the transmission of HAIs. To accomplish these objectives, effective protocols were developed to collect surface samples and extract DNA for 16S sequence analysis. For initial process optimization, DNA extraction was conducted on Gram-negative (E. coli) and Gram-positive (S. aureus) bacteria using the MP Biomedicals FASTDNA™ Spin Kit for Soil. In addition, we tested the effectiveness of different disinfectants (Cavicide, Decon7, and Microban-24) using an overnight culture of S. epidermidis spread over a glass tile. Our results indicated that the optimal bead-beating duration was 3 minutes at 5 meters per second. We also found that Microban-24 and Decon7 were more effective than Cavicide at 1 minute of contact time against S. epidermidis. These results indicated the importance of identifying the microorganisms present in ambulances to optimize disinfection protocol for eradicating those microbial populations in the least amount of time possible.