Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation of Influenza-Contaminated N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators

Am J Infect Control. 2018 Jul;46(7):e49-e55. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2018.02.018. Epub 2018 Apr 17.

Abstract

Background: Safe and effective decontamination and reuse of N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) has the potential to significantly extend FFR holdings, mitigating a potential shortage due to an influenza pandemic or other pandemic events. Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) has been shown to be effective for decontaminating influenza-contaminated FFRs. This study aims to build on past research by evaluating the UVGI decontamination efficiency of influenza-contaminated FFRs in the presence of soiling agents using an optimized UVGI dose.

Methods: Twelve samples each of 15 N95 FFR models were contaminated with H1N1 influenza (facepiece and strap), then covered with a soiling agent-artificial saliva or artificial skin oil. For each soiling agent, 3 contaminated FFRs were treated with 1 J/cm2 UVGI for approximately 1 minute, whereas 3 other contaminated FFRs remained untreated. All contaminated surfaces were cut out and virus extracted. Viable influenza was quantified using a median tissue culture infectious dose assay.

Results: Significant reductions (≥3 log) in influenza viability for both soiling conditions were observed on facepieces from 12 of 15 FFR models and straps from 7 of 15 FFR models.

Conclusions: These data suggest that FFR decontamination and reuse using UVGI can be effective. Implementation of a UVGI method will require careful consideration of FFR model, material type, and design.

Keywords: Decontamination; Disinfection; Reuse; Soiling; UVGI; Ultraviolet.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Decontamination / methods*
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Equipment Reuse
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / radiation effects*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Ventilators, Mechanical / virology*