Stethoscopes are potential vectors for transmission of healthcare-associated pathogens because they frequently contact patients’ skin but are not routinely cleaned between examinations. We tested the efficacy of a low-intensity UV-C device for decontamination of stethoscopes, including those designated for use in isolation rooms.
The UV Angel system is a small portable device containing a single 3.5 inch long cold cathold UV-C lamp that provides 6-minute decontamination cycles to small areas of exposure and includes sensors that abort the cycle if motion is detected within the area of UV-C exposure. We examined the efficacy of the device against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), carbapenem-resistant Escherichia coli, and C. difficile spores inoculated on stethoscopes. Log reductions were calculated by comparing recovery from treated stethoscopes versus untreated controls. We also cultured 50 in-use stethoscopes before and after 1 cycle of decontamination.
Recovery of MRSA and E. coli was reduced by greater than 3 logs with 1 6-minute cycle, whereas 4 cycles (24 minutes total) were required to achieve >1 log reduction in C. difficile spores. Based on indicator strips, there was no detectable UV-C penetration in areas outside the area of exposure directly beneath the lamp. Use of the device significantly reduced aerobic colony counts and recovery of healthcare-associated pathogens from in use stethoscopes (P<0.05 for both comparisons).
H. Alhmidi, None
J. L. Cadnum, None
A. Shaikh, None
C. J. Donskey, None