November 6, 2012
Short-wave ultraviolet radiation can clear dangerous germs from hospital rooms.
BOB HIRSHON (host):
Enlightened hospital sanitation. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Ultraviolet radiation causes sunburns and skin cancer. But it also kills disease-causing bacteria. Recently, scientists from Duke University Medical Center and the University of North Carolina Hospital system used a UV-emitting machine to disinfect actual hospital rooms, right after the sick patients checked out. Duke infectious disease specialist Deverick Anderson says they looked at three tough bugs, including antibiotic-resistant staph, or MRSA.
DEVERICK ANDERSON (Duke University Medical Center):
We found that we were able to reduce the amount of bacteria that was present by upwards of 90-95 percent. So, a lot.
Anderson notes that the UV radiation bounces all over the room, so it works even in shadows. The next step is to find out if the UV system actually reduces patient infections, which they’re currently studying in nine hospitals. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.