Daily disinfection with ultraviolet-C (UV-C) light did not decrease vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) or Clostridioides difficile infection rates in cancer and solid organ transplantation units. These findings were published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

At 4 cancer and 1 solid organ transplantation units at Johns Hopkins Hospital, units were randomly assigned to be disinfected witheither UV-C light plus standard cleaning or standard cleaning alone between December 2015 and 2016.  After a 5-week washout period, the random assignment was switched for the period between January 2017 and 2018. The UV-C light (254-nm wavelength via 157.7-cm maximum-output mercury lamp) cleaning occurred daily and after patient discharge. The primary outcome were the rates of VRE and C difficile infection, which were assessed in each unit on the basis of cleaning treatment.

During a period of 45,787 at risk patient-days, the researchers observed a total of 302 VRE infections. The incidence of VRE infections were 6.68 and 6.52 per 1000 patient-days among units that received daily disinfection with UV-C plus standard cleaning and those that received standard cleaning alone, respectively (unadjusted rate ratio [uRR], 0.98; 95% CI, 0.78-1.22; P =.54).


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A total of 84 C difficile infections were observed during 26,118 at risk pd. The incidence of C difficile infections were2.64 and 3.78 per 1000 patient-days among units that received daily disinfection with UV-C plus standard care and those that received standard cleaning alone, respectively (uRR, 1.43; 95% CI, 0.93-2.21; P =.98).

This study may have been underpowered due to its sample size. Other limitations of this study include its lack of generalizability to other settings as it conducted at 1 tertiary hospital, and the inconsistent use of UV-C light to disinfect hospital rooms.

This study failed to find utility in a program of disinfecting patient rooms with UV-C light in which there was no decrease in VRE or C difficile infection rates observed during a year of regular UV-C light disinfection in cancer and solid organ transplantation units.

Disclosure: Multiple authors declared affiliations with industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.

Reference

Rock C, Hsu Y-J, Curless MS, et al. Ultraviolet-C light evaluation as adjunct disinfection to remove multi-drug resistant organisms. Clin Infect Dis. 2021;ciab896. doi:10.1093/cid/ciab896