Effect of PX-UV room disinfection on microbial counts for MRSA and general contamination

John E. Zeber, PhD, Christopher Pfeiffer, MD, John W. Baddley, MD, Jose Cadena-Zuluaga, MD, Eileen M. Stock, PhD, Laurel A. Copeland, PhD, Janet Hendricks, BS, Jwan Mohammadi, MS, Marcos I. Restrepo, MD, Chetan Jinadatha, MD, MPH

VA researchers found that surface MRSA counts were reduced by 75 percent and aerobic bacteria colony counts were reduced by 84 percent in rooms disinfected with pulsed xenon UV devices. Manual disinfection reduced bacteria counts only by 25-30 percent.

According to the study, “Inadequate environmental disinfection represents a serious risk for health care–associated infections…. This multicenter study demonstrates significantly reduced disinfection across several common pathogens in facilities using PX-UV devices.

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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Credit Rachael Sparks