New research has found that using ultraviolet light to sterilise the air significantly reduces bacterial contamination.
A three-month research project, at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow tested Medixair air sterilisation units to see if they would have an impact on the level of MRSA in the environment.
Whilst the technique of using ultraviolet light to combat bacteria and viruses has long been recognised and is well known, a method for easily delivering the right amount of ultraviolet light required to kill pathogenic microbes has only recently been developed for use in clinical areas.
Using two identical single-bed rooms, one acting as a control and the other using a sterilisation unit, the trial found that using air sterilisation techniques significantly reduces environmental contamination and the subsequent risk of cross infection to patients.
During the three-month trial “Medixair” air sterilisation units continuously removed a range of bacteria, including MRSA, from the test room, producing measurable improvements and lowering the risk of patient infections.
At the end of the trial, the Medixair units were taken from the test location and placed into the control room. A similar outcome was achieved; the results matching those of the test room.
Consultant Microbiologist and Director of Infection Prevention and Control Dr Peder Bo Nielson, at Northwick Park Hospital, said: “I am delighted with the results of the trial. I believe it proves that whilst hand washing and traditional cleaning regimes remain vital elements in the fight against infection, it should now be recognised that by treating the air in this way it is possible to further drive down the risk of infection.”
As a result of the success of the air sterilisation trial, Northwick Park has taken delivery of its first order of twenty units and deployed them in critical care environments within the hospital.
Dr Nielsen adds; “Due to their portability and ease of installation, the air sterilisation units will enable any hospital to create instant isolation rooms, especially useful during outbreaks of serious communicable diseases”.
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