Implementation of environmental cleaning and disinfection has been shown to reduce the incidences of healthcare-associated infections. The effect of an enhanced strategy for terminal room disinfection, applying the pulsed xenon-based ultraviolet light no-touch disinfection systems (PX-UVC) after the current standard operating protocol (SOP) was evaluated. In a teaching hospital, the effectiveness in reducing the total bacterial count (TBC) and in eliminating high-concern microorganisms was assessed on five high-touch surfaces in different critical areas, immediately pre- and post-cleaning and disinfection procedures (345 sampling sites). PX-UVC showed only 18% (15/85) of positive samples after treatment compared to 63% (72/115) after SOP. The effectiveness of PX-UVC was also observed in the absence of manual cleaning and application of a chemical disinfectant. According to the hygienic standards proposed by the Italian Workers Compensation Authority, 9 of 80 (11%) surfaces in operating rooms showed TBC ≥15 CFU/24 cm2 after the SOP, while all samples were compliant applying the SOP plus PX-UVC disinfection. Clostridium difficile (CD) spores and Klebsiella pneumoniae (KPC) were isolated only after the SOP. The implementation of the standard cleaning and disinfection procedure with the integration of the PX-UVC treatment had effective results in both the reduction of hygiene failures and in control environmental contamination by high-concern microorganisms.
Keywords: healthcare-associated infections; high-touch surfaces; hospital environmental cleaning and disinfection; ultraviolet C light-emitting device.