UV-C room disinfection reduces viral infection

There is now strong evidence that UV-C room disinfection reduces the transmission of key bacterial pathogens in hospitals, including MRSA, VRE, and perhaps to a lesser degree, C. difficile infection. A new study demonstrates that UV-C room disinfection using GAMA's Violet UV-C room sanitiser also reduced viral infection.

The study was performed is a fairly small 100 bed paediatric long-term care facility in the USA. The study had a before-after design, with UV-C implemented for 12 months in 2016 and viral infection rates compared with historic rates of virus infection in the unit over the 12 months prior to implementation. Unlike other studies, UV-C was not used at the time of patient discharge to enhance terminal disinfection. Instead, UV-C was deployed on a rolling disinfection programme so that the rooms considered at highest risk were disinfected using UV-C 2-3 times a week, and common areas were disinfected 3 times per week.

A 44% reduction in the incidence of viral infection was achieved during the 12 month intervention (50.3 vs. 82.0 viral HCAIs per 10,000 patient days) (see the Figure below). One interesting finding was that there seemed to be a cumulative effect of UV-C, suggesting that the regular programme of UV-C disinfection 'chipped away' at long standing environmental contamination, resulting in a gradual decrease in viral infection incidence.

Figure: Cumulative viral rate in the months before UV-C use began (blue) vs. the first 12 months of UV-C use (purple)

Crucially, no other interventions were made, and there were no changes to infection prevention and control practices on the unit. This suggests that the observed reduction in viral infection rates was due to the implementation of UV-C. These findings suggest that a rolling programme of UV-C patient room and common area disinfection should be considered to reduce viral infection.