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.
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