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Using Germicidal UV-C Disinfection

Alternate Methods for Using Germicial UV-C Disinfection Lamps to Supplement HEPA Filtration

Today, healthcare facilities must be prepared to face potential large-scale threats from chemical, biological, and nuclear contaminants that were almost unthinkable in the past. 

HRSA Critical Benchmark #2-2 has significantly increased the surge isolation room capacity requirements for hospitals and clinics in an effort to handle a potential influx of potentially infectious patients. Existing capacities have been further strained by the recommendations in the 2003 CDC Guidelines

Existing capacities have been further strained by the recommendations in the 2003 CDC Guidelines against the use of dual-purpose (positive/negative) isolation rooms in either new or existing facilities, because these rooms can be “unreliable.”

Should Your Facility Consider UVGI?

HEPA filtration, air changes, containment, and negative room-pressurization are the time-proven engineering measures for successful patient isolation and infection control. They remain the primary recommended controls under current and proposed standards for Airborne Infectious Isolation (AII) rooms and Protective Environments (PE). Because of the unknown nature and toxicity of the pathogens that may be involved, an increasing number of facilities are also considering the use of UVGI (Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation) lamps, also called UV-C lamps, as an additional measure. Others remain wary because of safety and efficacy concerns. Common questions from infection control and facility engineering professionals regarding this technology include the following: 4 Do UVGI lamps really increase the level of protection? 4 How much UVGI output is needed? 4 Where should the lamps be located for maximum effectiveness? 4 Can UVGI be used safely?

Because of the unknown nature and toxicity of the pathogens that may be involved, an increasing number of facilities are also considering the use of UVGI (Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation) lamps, also called UV-C lamps, as an additional measure. Others remain wary because of safety and efficacy concerns.

Common questions from infection control and facility engineering professionals regarding this technology include the following:

  • Do UVGI lamps really increase the level of protection?
  • How much UVGI output is needed?
  • Where should the lamps be located for maximum effectiveness?
  • Can UVGI be used safely?

The purpose of this article is to help provide some of the answers.

The short answer is that UVGI disinfection can complement these other infection control measures. Leading hospital
applications include:

  • Providing an additional level of protection for patient isolation rooms.
  • Continuous air disinfection in areas where the infectious status of patients may be unknown, such as ER, outpatient clinics, or waiting areas.
  • Controlling airborne pathogens and odors to improve worker safety and comfort in areas such as laboratories, autopsy or morgue.
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