During the study, a portable machine called the Tru-D SmartUVC was used to disinfect rooms where patients with the target bacteria had been staying. The machine emits UVC light into the empty room for about 30 minutes. The light bounces and reflects into hard-to-reach areas such as open drawers, and between cabinets and fixtures. The light waves kill bacteria by disrupting their DNA.
The trial compared standard disinfection with quaternary ammonium to three other cleaning methods: using quaternary ammonium followed by UV light; using chlorine bleach instead of quaternary ammonium and no UV light; and cleaning with bleach and UV light. The most effective strategy was using quaternary ammonium followed by UV light. This combination was particularly effective against transmission of MRSA.
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The researchers found that using chlorine bleach instead of quaternary ammonium cut transmissions of VRE by more than half. Adding UV light to the bleach regimen was even more effective; it cut VRE transmission by 64 percent.
“We can successfully reduce the risk of germs spreading through the environment through what we call, ‘enhanced disinfection’,” Anderson said.
Hospitals have to be strategic to enable extra disinfection time while considering varied discharge times, the demand for patient rooms and availability of the machines, Anderson said. Even with these factors -- which change daily—hospitals involved in the study were able to disinfect 90 percent of the targeted rooms following the exact trial protocol.