The hospital environment is known to harbor pathogens that cause healthcare-associated infections. Sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) has been a common method for disinfection due to its low cost and wide availability. Nevertheless, UV-C is less time-consuming and less prone to human errors. We are aware of only one study that has directly compared UV-C against NaClO in a high-income country.1
A pilot study was designed to test three different methods for terminal room disinfection: 1) NaClO (1000 ppm); 2) UV-C (two 5-minute cycles at a maximum radius of 2.4 m with the UVDI UV360TM device); and 3) NaClO followed by UV-C. After patient discharge, housekeeping staff cleaned every room with detergent. Next, the rooms were subjected to one of the three disinfection procedures in a non-randomized way. Environmental cultures were taken before and after cleaning and after every disinfection procedure, from three high touch areas: bedrails, patient tables and mattresses. Bedrails were sampled with swabs and the rest of the surfaces with RODACTM plates. Cultures were processed by the same external accredited laboratory. Our main objective was to calculate reductions in total bacterial counts (measured in CFUs) to estimate the sample size for a larger multicenter study. We hypothesized that similar bacterial count reductions would be observed for the three methods.
Eight rooms were tested in 4 hospitals in Mexico City (total of 85 cultures). Median bacterial count reductions with their respective IQRs, adjusted to CFUs after cleaning, were: 1 (0-10) after NaClO only; 5 (0-30) after UV-C only, and 1 (0-10) after NaClO + UV-C (Kruskal-Wallis test, p=0.419); the respective median proportion reductions were 95.8% (0-100%), 90.1% (75-100%) and 100% (10-100%).
All three disinfection methods seem to be equally effective for the reduction of total bacterial counts on hospital surfaces, regardless the type of hospital or ward. With a sufficiently powered study, we will attempt to demonstrate that UV-C alone could be used instead of NaClO (reference disinfectant in Mexico), possibly with time and economic savings.
D. De La Rosa,
R. Trejo González, None
D. Vilar-Compte, None
A. Laris González, None
A. Galindo-Fraga, None
L. M. Guerrero Escudero, None