Ultraviolet (UV) light can enhance hospitals’ efforts to disinfect patient rooms from drug-resistant bacteria, according to a new study led by Duke Health.

The study, recently published in The Lancet, tested the use of ultraviolet C (UVC) against four superbugs: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA); vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE); Acinetobacter; and Clostridium difficile.

The trial compared standard disinfection using quaternary ammonium with three other cleaning methods: quaternary ammonium followed by UV light; chlorine bleach without UV light; and bleach with UV light.

The study was conducted in nine Southeast hospitals and included more than 21,000 patients, each of whom stayed overnight in a room where someone with a known positive culture or infection of a superbug had been treated.

The researchers found that the additional cleaning provided by the UV light cumulatively decreased infection by 30 percent in the patient who occupied the room next. 

Visit our sister publication's site, Hospital & Health Networks, to read more about the study.