Effect of pulsed xenon ultraviolet room disinfection devices on microbial counts for methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureusand aerobic bacterial colonies

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Abstract

Background:

Inadequate environmental disinfection represents a serious risk for health care–associated infections. Technologic advancements in disinfection practices, including no-touch devices, offer significant promise to improve infection control. We evaluated one such device, portable pulsed xenon ultraviolet (PX-UV) units, on microbial burden during an implementation trial across 4 Veterans Affairs hospitals.

Methods:

Environmental samples were collected before and after terminal room cleaning: 2 facilities incorporated PX-UV disinfection into their cleaning protocols and 2 practiced manual disinfection only. Specimens from 5 high-touch surfaces were collected from rooms harboring methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or aerobic bacteria colonies (ABC). Unadjusted pre-post count reductions and negative binomial regression modeled PX-UV versus manual cleaning alone.

Results:

Seventy samples were collected. Overall, PX-UV reduced MRSA and ABC counts by 75.3% and 84.1%, respectively, versus only 25%-30% at control sites. Adjusting for baseline counts, manually cleaned rooms had significantly higher residual levels than PX-UV sites. Combined analyses revealed an incident rate ratio of 5.32 (P = .0024), with bedrails, tray tables, and toilet handrails also showing statistically superior PX-UV disinfection.

Conclusions:

This multicenter study demonstrates significantly reduced disinfection across several common pathogens in facilities using PX-UV devices. Clinical impact of laboratory reductions on infection rates was not assessed, representing a critical future research question. However, such approaches to routine cleaning suggest a practical strategy when integrated into daily hospital operations.

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