Ultraviolet cleaning reduces hospital superbugs by 20 percent

May 28, 2014

Healthcare-associated vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile (CD), and other multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO) were decreased among patients after adding ultraviolet environmental disinfection (UVD) to the cleaning regimen, according to a study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

In this retrospective study led by the Department of Infection Prevention and Control at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, NY, researchers discovered that the rate of healthcare-associated infections caused by MDRO and C. difficile was significantly lower during the 22 months of UVD use compared with the 30-month period before UVD (2.14 cases per 1,000 patient-days vs 2.67 cases, respectively). This dramatic decline in incidence occurred despite missing 24 percent of UVD opportunities.

UVD is a disinfection method that uses ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms in the patients' environment.

"In our study, overall decreases in MDRO plus C. difficile were led by a decrease in VRE, which is our most common hospital-acquired MDRO," the authors state. "Although there were many other simultaneous interventions occurring at our hospital that could have contributed to the reduction in VRE acquisition, the rates experienced during UVD are the lowest incidence rates of VRE at our institution for the past 10 years and were sustained for 22 months."

The study analyzed 52 months of hospital-acquired MDROs plus C. difficile before and during UVD use. During the pre-UVD period (January 2009-June 2011), the hospital used standard cleaning protocols [sodium hypochlorite (bleach)] to disinfect MDRO patient rooms upon discharge. Once the hospital leased two UVD machines and trained the staff to use them, the second phase began (July 2011-April 2013), during which UVD was added to the cleaning regimen.

In addition to use for contact precaution discharges, UVD was used weekly in the dialysis unit and for all burn unit discharges. UVD could be requested for rooms of long-stay patients or for discharges in units with high prevalence of MDRO or CD.

Under contact precautions, everyone coming into a patient's room is asked to wear a gown and gloves because the patient has a type of infection that can be spread by touching the patient or their environment.

The system was used for 6 minutes in the bathroom and 6 minutes each at two positions in the patient room. On average, UVD added 51 minutes per discharge.

"Use of UVD as an adjunct to routine discharge cleaning of contact precautions rooms was feasible and temporally associated with a significant decrease in hospital-acquired MDRO plus CD in our institution," conclude the authors.

Explore further: Most California hospitals implementing infection control

More information: "Implementation and impact of ultraviolet environmental disinfection in an acute care setting," by Janet P. Haas, Jonathan Menz, Stephen Dusza, and Marisa A. Montecalvo, appears in the American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 42, Issue 6 (June 2014)

Related Stories

Most California hospitals implementing infection control

March 17, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Most California hospitals implement some policies to improve infection control for multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO), primarily methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), but few policies are associated ...

Daily disinfection of isolation rooms reduces contamination of healthcare workers' hands

September 13, 2012
New research demonstrates that daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces in isolation rooms of patients with Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) significantly reduces the ...

Study reveals wide discrepancy in multidrug surveillance among intensive care units

September 28, 2012
Screening practices for multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) in intensive care units (ICUs) vary widely from hospital to hospital, according to a new study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Infection ...

Rhode Island Hospital reduces incidence of hospital-associated C. difficile by 70 percent

June 20, 2013
Rhode Island Hospital has reduced the incidence of hospital-associated Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections by 70 percent and reduced annual associated mortality in patients with hospital-associated C. difficile ...

Weekly emails to hospital C-suite halt two decades of superbug outbreak

April 28, 2014
Efforts to reduce and stop the spread of infections caused by a highly resistant organism, carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, at a large Florida hospital proved ineffective until they added another weapon – weekly ...

Copper surfaces reduce the rate of health care-acquired infections

April 9, 2013
Placement of copper objects in intensive care unit (ICU) hospital rooms reduced the number of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) in patients by more than half, according to a new study published in the May issue of Infection ...

Recommended for you

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Nik_2213
not rated yet May 28, 2014
Uh, that stuff used to be known as 'natural light', hence the high ceilings and huge, sunny-side glazing of the classic 'Nightingale Wards'...

Given that laundry detergent makers are now concerned that LED room-lights lack the UV to make washing 'whiter than white', perhaps there's a case for tweaking the LED mix to include 'UV Torch' components ?? And nationally setting an output nm range / strength that can be advertised as 'new improved original daylight' ??

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.