‘No touch’ technologies for environmental decontamination: focus on ultraviolet devices and hydrogen peroxide systems

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Purpose of reviewThis article reviews ‘no touch’ methods for disinfection of the contaminated surface environment of hospitalized patients’ rooms. The focus is on studies that assessed the effectiveness of ultraviolet (UV) light devices, hydrogen peroxide systems, and self-disinfecting surfaces to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).Recent findingsThe contaminated surface environment in hospitals plays an important role in the transmission of several key nosocomial pathogens including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus spp., Clostridium difficile, Acinetobacter spp., and norovirus. Multiple clinical trials have now demonstrated the effectiveness of UV light devices and hydrogen peroxide systems to reduce HAIs. A limited number of studies have suggested that ‘self-disinfecting’ surfaces may also decrease HAIs.SummaryMany studies have demonstrated that terminal cleaning and disinfection with germicides is often inadequate and leaves environmental surfaces contaminated with important nosocomial pathogens. ‘No touch’ methods of room decontamination (i.e., UV devices and hydrogen peroxide systems) have been demonstrated to reduce key nosocomial pathogens on inoculated test surfaces and on environmental surfaces in actual patient rooms. Further UV devices and hydrogen peroxide systems have been demonstrated to reduce HAI. A validated ‘no touch’ device or system should be used for terminal room disinfection following discharge of patients on contact precautions. The use of a ‘self-disinfecting’ surface to reduce HAI has not been convincingly demonstrated.

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