The free-living protozoan Acanthamoeba is an opportunistic pathogen that is ubiquitous in our environment. However, its role in affecting indoor air quality and ill-health of indoor occupants is relatively unknown. The present study investigated the presence of Acanthamoeba from the ventilation system and its correlation with other indoor air quality parameters, used in the industry code of practice and its potential as an indicator for indoor air quality. Indoor air quality assessments were carried out in nine commercial buildings with approval from the building management, and the parameters assessed were as recommended by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health. The presence of Acanthamoeba was determined through dust swabs from the ventilation system and indoor furniture. Logistic regression was performed to study the correlation between assessed parameters and occupants' complaints. A total of 107 sampling points were assessed and 40.2% of the supplying air diffuser and blowing fan and 15% of the furniture were positive for cysts. There was a significant correlation between Acanthamoeba detected from the ventilation system with ambient total fungus count (r=0.327; p=0.01) and respirable particulates (r=0.276; p=0.01). Occupants' sick building syndrome experience also correlated with the presence of Acanthamoeba in the ventilation system (r=0.361; p=0.01) and those detected on the furniture (r=0.290; p=0.01). Logistic regression showed that there was a five-fold probability of sick building syndrome among occupants when Acanthamoeba was detected in the ventilation system.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.