UV Light Can Aid Hospitals’ Fight to Wipe Out Drug-Resistant Superbugs
Some hospitals have already begun using UVC machines in addition to standard chemical disinfection to kill potentially dangerous bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), but research on their effectiveness has been preliminary.
A large randomized trial led by Duke Health and published in The Lancet finds use of UVC machines can cut transmission of four major superbugs by a cumulative 30 percent. The finding is specific to patients who stay overnight in a room where someone with a known positive culture or infection of a drug-resistant organism had previously been treated.
“Some of these germs can live on the environment so long that even after a patient with the organism has left the room and it has been cleaned, the next patient in the room could potentially be exposed,” said Deverick J. Anderson, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at Duke Health and lead investigator of the trial, which included more than 21,000 patients. “Infections from one of these bugs are tough and expensive to treat and can be truly debilitating for a patient. For hospitals, these infections also cause a burden of costs that often aren’t reimbursable.”
Co-authors of the study included David Weber, MD, MPH, medical director of UNC Hospitals’ Departments of Hospital Epidemiology and Occupational Health Service and associate chief medical officer of UNC Health Care; and William Rutala, MS, MPH, PhD, director of Hospital Epidemiology and the Occupational Health and Safety Program at UNC Hospitals.
To read more, click here.