Effect of UV-C light or hydrogen peroxide wipes on the inactivation of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium difficile spores and norovirus surrogate

J Appl Microbiol. 2019 Aug;127(2):586-597. doi: 10.1111/jam.14308. Epub 2019 Jun 6.


Aims: The current study aimed to assess the potential of a new high dose ultraviolet (UV) disinfection device to inactivate methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile and a norovirus surrogate on handheld mobile devices, and to compare the efficacy of the UV-C device to hydrogen peroxide disinfection wipes.

Methods and results: Suspensions of MRSA, C. difficile spores and a surrogate for norovirus (MS2) were inoculated onto glass or plastic coupons, with or without organic contamination and were exposed to continuous UV-C light for 15-60 s (165-646 mJ cm-2 ) in a self-contained UV-C chamber or treated with hydrogen peroxide wipes. Increasing the UV-C dose from 310 to 650 mJ cm-2 did not result in greater levels of inactivation. UV-C light inactivated all three micro-organisms, in the absence of organic contamination, by >2·9 log. Treatment of MRSA, C. difficile spores or MS2, in the presence of organic contamination, with UV-C light (310-646 mJ cm-2 ) resulted in 2·3-3·7 log reductions. Treatment of MRSA with UV-C light provided levels of inactivation comparable to treatment with hydrogen peroxide wipes used following the manufacturer's instructions.

Conclusions: UV-C light and hydrogen peroxide wipes had strong antimicrobial activity against MRSA, C. difficile spores and a norovirus surrogate, in the presence or absence of organic contamination.

Significance and impact of the study: Chemical disinfection wipes are widely used in healthcare facilities, but they are not recommended for use on handheld mobile devices which may harbour pathogenic micro-organisms. The powerful bactericidal, sporicidal and virucidal activity of this high dose UV-C light device, shows that this technology is a promising alternative to chemical disinfectants, particularly for control of MRSA.

Keywords: Clostridium difficile; MRSA; Norovirus; UV-C light; disinfection.

MeSH terms

  • Clostridioides difficile / drug effects
  • Clostridioides difficile / radiation effects*
  • Disinfectants / pharmacology
  • Disinfection*
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / radiation effects*
  • Norovirus / drug effects
  • Norovirus / radiation effects*
  • Spores, Bacterial / drug effects
  • Spores, Bacterial / radiation effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Disinfectants
  • Hydrogen Peroxide