To determine the effectiveness of a UV-C-emitting device to eliminate clinically important nosocomial pathogens in a contaminated hospital room.



This study was carried out in a standard but empty hospital room (phase 1) and in a room previously occupied by a patient with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) infection (phase 2) in an acute care tertiary hospital in North Carolina from January 21 through September 21, 2009. During phase 1, Formica sheets contaminated with approximately 10(4)-10(5) organisms of MRSA, VRE, multidrug-resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter baumannii, or Clostridium difficile spores were placed in a hospital room, both in direct line of sight of the UV-C device and behind objects. After timed exposure, the presence of the microbes was assessed. During phase 2, specific sites in rooms that had housed patients with MRSA or VRE infection were sampled before and after UV-C irradiation. After timed exposure, the presence of MRSA and VRE and total colony counts were assessed.



In our test room, the effectiveness of UV-C radiation in reducing the counts of vegetative bacteria on surfaces was more than 99.9% within 15 minutes, and the reduction in C. difficile spores was 99.8% within 50 minutes. In rooms occupied by patients with MRSA, UV-C irradiation of approximately 15 minutes duration resulted in a decrease in total CFUs per plate (mean, 384 CFUs vs 19 CFUs; P < .001), in the number of samples positive for MRSA (81 [20.3%] of 400 plates vs 2 [0.5%] of 400 plates; P < .001), and in MRSA counts per MRSA-positive plate (mean, 37 CFUs vs 2 CFUs; P < .001).



This UV-C device was effective in eliminating vegetative bacteria on contaminated surfaces both in the line of sight and behind objects within approximately 15 minutes and in eliminating C. difficile spores within 50 minutes.


Authors: Rutala WA, Gergen MF, Weber DJ

Hospital Epidemiology, University of North Carolina Health Care, and the Division of Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7030, USA. [email protected]




Room Decontamination with UV Radiation:  Created on December 14th, 2010.  Last Modified on December 14th, 2010


You must be logged in to comment:

Forgot your password?   Don't have an account?

Subscribe to CIRI's Newsletter


Stay in touch with cleaning-science news from CIRI. As a bonus, we’ll also give you a copy of the Frank Porter Graham Building Study - the foundation for most current high performance cleaning programs



First Name:
Last Name:
Email Address:




CIRI respects your privacy: (Privacy Policy)

CIRIscience.org Account Registration

Fill in the form below for basic site access (commenting, etc).
Looking for more? Become a CIRI Member...