Benefits Of Disinfecting With UV Technology

Healthcare facilities are adopting UV disinfection practices in the fight against HAIs

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in 25 hospital patients has at least one hospital acquired infection (HAI) on any given day. And although HAI rates are declining, many hospitals need to ramp up cleaning and disinfecting processes to control the spread of infection and reduce the risk of HAIs.

Some healthcare facilities are adopting ultraviolet (UV) technology as an adjunct to their terminal cleaning procedures — and the outcomes are promising.

“UV light will pick up effectively where chemicals leave off,” says Dennis Boyle, president of Spectra254, Danbury, Connecticut. “The light penetrates the cell of the microorganism and completely disrupts its DNA, killing the cell on contact within a certain period of time.”

There are two types of UV disinfection systems on the market: One uses a mercury vapor lamp and the other uses xenon, an environmentally friendly inert gas. Approximately 50 companies offer mercury UV technology; Xenex is the only company that offers pulsed xenon UV technology.

“We’ve managed to recreate UV-C, which normally doesn’t hit the earth, but bounces off the ozone layer,” explains Daniel English, environmental services principal for Xenex, San Antonio, Texas. “Not only is it germicidal, but it’s showing incredible results on one of the toughest pathogens to kill, which is C.diff in spore state.”

Katherine Velez, a scientist at Clorox Healthcare in Pleasanton, California, is seeing an increase in hospitals using UV-C. She says that the company’s UV disinfection system kills more than 30 HAI-causing pathogens in five minutes at a distance of eight feet, which includes a 4-log reduction of C.diff spores.

“In a hospital, we recommend using it in areas like operating rooms, emergency rooms, patient rooms and restrooms, and intensive care and burn units,” she says. “For a patient room, we recommend three, five-minute cycles. One on each side of the patient bed and one five-minute cycle in the bathroom to make sure all high-touch areas are exposed to UV-C.”

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Augmenting Cleaning With Disinfecting Technology