UV light disinfection cuts C. diff rates by 25%, study finds

Treating empty patient rooms with ultraviolet C light disinfection robots can substantially reduce the rate of Clostridium difficile infections in high-risk patients who will later occupy the rooms, according to a new study published in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

For the study, researchers conducted the disinfection technique and monitored its impact on C. diff infection rates over a one-year period (February 2014 to January 2015) across three hematology-oncology units at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

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The addition of UV disinfection to infection prevention protocols was associated with a 25 percent reduction in C. diff infection rates among new patients in the three study units. Concurrently, C. diff rates increased by 16 percent in units outside of the study.

"These findings have real implications for both health systems and patients," said David Pegues, MD, lead author of the study and a professor of Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "The effectiveness and efficiency of UV-C robots make it a practical and cost effective technology that will benefit hospitals around the country and save people's lives."

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