Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) is an emerging technology that leverages ultraviolet light to rapidly kill pathogens, bacteria, and fungal organisms on surfaces without the use of dangerous chemicals.
Disinfecting With Ultraviolet Light
Ultraviolet light has been employed in healthcare settings for more than 100 years, beginning with the use of photobiomodulation to combat lupus vulgaris--a mycobacterium tuberculosis skin infection.
Modern implementations of UV lighting for the purposes of disinfection focus on several areas:
- Food preparation.
- HVAC ducts.
- Surfaces, and;
- Upper-room where no mechanical HVAC system exists.
As a surface disinfectant and upper-room/air disinfectant, UV light has proven invaluable, especially in healthcare settings against airborne pathogens, such as SARS-CoV-2, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, with the caveat being the process does not preclude the need for high-quality surface cleaning.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
To date, UV research on SARS-CoV-2 indicates that the virus that causes COVID-19 is very similar to other coronaviruses (for example, SARS and MERS) regarding the UV dose necessary to inactivate it.
Upper-room UVGI systems can be used to control SARS-CoV-2 as a useful ventilation tool to consider in reducing the spread of infectious pathogens.
UVGI does not replace the need for cleaning or disinfecting surfaces where infectious SARS-CoV-2 droplets may be present.
Further, according to research published by Penn States' Center for Sports Surface Research;
Ultraviolet light has been shown to be effective in the elimination of S. aureus from a variety of surfaces (Silva et al, 2003) and has been shown to reduce the population of MRSA bacteria in patients with infected wounds (Thai et al, 2002).
More recently a device (GreenZapr, GreensGroomer Worldwide, Indianapolis, IN) has been developed that can be used as a maintenance tool for synthetic turf surfaces utilizing UV light as a disinfectant.
UV Disinfecting With Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Ozarks
Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Ozarks' trained service providers employ UV disinfection in one of two ways.
After a thorough surface cleaning using a commercial-grade detergent, UV light is used to disinfect contaminated surfaces via:
- A handheld device used for targeted surface disinfection, and;
- An unattended apparatus used to disinfect surfaces in large, hard-to-clean facilities, such as operating rooms and surgery centers.
The benefits of UVGI services include:
- A reduction in the use of corrosive commercial disinfectants that are harmful to facility occupants and the natural environment, resulting in improved indoor air quality and overall occupant health.
- Faster turnover times in high-demand/high-occupancy patient rooms, and;
- A significant reduction in surface and airborne pathogens, HAIs, and occupant illness.
References & Resources
- CDC Fact Sheet Discusses Upper-Room Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation
- The History of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation for Air Disinfection
- Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation - current best practices.
- Additional COVID-19 Questions - Does UV light kill coronavirus?
UV lighting is a proven method for effectively inactivating and killing deadly pathogens, bacteria, and fungi in the air, water, food, and on surfaces without the use of harsh and corrosive chemicals that compromise the health and safety of facility occupants and the environment.
When used correctly, in combination with a regular, high-quality subscription cleaning service, UV disinfection services can have a dramatic impact on the facility sanitation and occupancy rates, especially in challenging-to-clean healthcare environments.
The lighting can be hazardous if used improperly, and so should only be handled by trained and knowledgeable service providers.
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