UV light disinfection is a popular choice for hospital cleaning, and studies have confirmed that it’s extremely effective at eliminating harmful pathogens.
In 2016, a group of doctors and scientists set out to do just that. In particular, they wanted to see what kind of power UV-C can provide in a hospital setting. Of top priority, they wanted to examine its potential effectiveness in reducing the bacteria methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE), and clostridium difficile colitis (C. diff) – all of which are known to cause healthcare-associated infections.
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The study was conducted at Vancouver General Hospital, where the sample group included over 360 surfaces (tables, handrails, bed adjustment controls, etc.) across 60 patient rooms — all of which had been previously occupied by patients with MRSA, VRE, and C. diff. The method included both a manual, terminal cleaning and UV light disinfection, with culture readings recorded before and after each instance.
First, the housekeeping staff performed their standard manual cleaning per hospital protocol, using accelerated hydrogen peroxide for surfaces and a neutral detergent for floors. Then, following measurement of the remaining pathogens, two UV light disinfection transmitters were brought into the rooms. Upon completion of their cycle, another measurement was taken, which showed some pretty interesting results.
The Results Are In: UV Light Disinfection Works
Prior to any cleaning or disinfection taking place, 34.4% of rooms tested positive for MRSA, 29.5% tested positive for VRE, and 31.8% were positive for C. diff. After the initial manual cleaning, there was little to no change in these numbers.
However, after receiving a dose of UV light disinfection, these numbers dropped precipitously – to 3.3% for MRSA, 4.9% for VRE, and 0% for C. diff.
As to the surfaces and high-touch points, they followed a similar trajectory, with their before-cleanings percentage of MRSA, VRE, and C. diff (13.9%, 11.4%, 7.2%, respectively) plummeting to less than 1% across the board after receiving UV light disinfection, with C. diff again being completely eradicated.
In conclusion, the study determined that “manual cleaning of patient rooms is suboptimal” and that using UV light disinfection will “effectively reduce patient room contamination with MRSA, VRE, and C. diff over and above manual cleaning…”