Preflight and Postflight Microbiological Results from 25 Space Shuttle Crews 932139
Clinical-microbiological investigations are an important aspect of the crew health stabilization program. To ensure that space crews have neither active nor latent infections, clinical specimens, including throat and nasal swabs and urine samples, are collected at 10 days (L-10) and 2 days (L-2) before launch, and immediately after landing (L+0). All samples are examined for the presence of bacteria and fungi. In addition, fecal samples are collected at L-10 and examined for bacteria, fungi and parasites. This paper describes clinical-microbiological findings from 144 astronauts participating in 25 Space Shuttle missions spanning STS-26 to STS-50. The spectrum of microbiological findings from the specimens included 25 bacterial and 11 fungal species. Among the bacteria isolated most frequently were Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis and Streptococcus agalactiae. Candida albicans was the most frequently isolated fungal pathogen.