Ultraviolet Cleaning Reduces Hospital Superbugs By 20 Percent

Washington, DC, May 27, 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 infection control 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.

Note: The hospital did not receive any financial support or discounts on equipment for the study.

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Notes for Editors
“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), published by Elsevier.

Authors:

Janet P. Haas, PhD, RN (Corresponding Author)
Westchester Medical Center Department of Infection Prevention and Control
Valhalla, NY

Jonathan Menz, MBA
Westchester Medical Center Department of Performance Management
Valhalla, NY

Stephen Dusza, DrPH
Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, New York Medical College
Valhalla, NY

Marisa A. Montecalvo, MD
Westchester Medical Center Department of Infection Prevention and Control
Valhalla, NY

About AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control
AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control
(www.ajicjournal.org) covers key topics and issues in infection control and epidemiology. Infection preventionists, including physicians, nurses, and epidemiologists, rely on AJIC for peer-reviewed articles covering clinical topics as well as original research. As the official publication of APIC, AJIC is the foremost resource on infection control, epidemiology, infectious diseases, quality management, occupational health, and disease prevention. AJIC also publishes infection control guidelines from APIC and the CDC. Published by Elsevier, AJIC is included in MEDLINE and CINAHL.

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’s mission is to create a safer world through prevention of infection. The association’s more than 15,000 members direct infection prevention programs that save lives and improve the bottom line for hospitals and other healthcare facilities. APIC advances its mission through patient safety, implementation science, competencies and certification, advocacy, and data standardization. Visit APIC online at www.apic.org. Follow APIC on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apic and Facebook: www.facebook.com/APICInfectionPreventionandYou. For information on what patients and families can do, visit APIC’s Infection Prevention and You website at www.apic.org/infectionpreventionandyou

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Media contact
Liz Garman
+1 202 454 2604
egarman@apic.org