Study finds xenon UV an effective disinfectant in hospitals


iStock | Aleksdem

iStock | Aleksdem

Last year we wrote about how devices using ultraviolet light can clean hospital rooms more effectively than normal cleaning alone. A new study backs up these claims, showing that xenon UV devices significantly reduce contamination from a variety of bacteria on frequently touched surfaces in hospitals.

The study, titled “Evaluation of a Pulsed Xenon Ultraviolet Disinfection System for Reduction of Healthcare-Associated Pathogens in Hospital Rooms,” was recently published in the Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology journal.

“We found that the PX-UV device reduced recovery of MRSA, C. difficile, and VRE on carriers and on frequently touched surfaces in hospital rooms with a 10-minute exposure time,” wrote the researchers. “Increasing the distance from the device dramatically reduced the killing efficacy of PX-UV irradiation, whereas pathogen concentration, organic load, and shading from the direct field of radiation did not.”

UV has long been known as an effective decontamination agent, but new devices are making the technology less expensive and therefore more efficient for hospitals and other medical workplaces to use. While most of these devices use mercury gas bulbs, the study looks at the xenon flash bulbs being incorporated into newer machines.

The xenon flash bulbs emit the UV light in short, high-intensity pulses as opposed to the continuous stream from the mercury gas bulbs. Researchers from the study state that the xenon devices may be safer in a hospital setting because of the lack of mercury. Additionally, the recommended time for using the xenon devices is 10 to 20 minutes, whereas the the mercury gas bulb devices can take up to 45 minutes for a full cycle.


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