UV treatment shows promise in curbing Clostridium difficile infections in LTC environments

Using ultraviolet light to disinfect resident rooms and other spaces can help control the spread of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) according to the May 2012 issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

C. diff infections (CDI) are commonly associated with elderly residents living in a shared setting where there is a high risk of cross-contamination. Symptoms include persistent diarrhea and, in some cases, severe colon inflammation.

The C. diff bacteria have always presented a formidable challenge to LTC infection-control regimens. The bacteria spread rapidly through airborne spores that can remain on surfaces for months and are resistant to other disinfectants, such as surface sprays and bleach.

Researchers found that treating a resident’s room with UV light not only significantly reduced the number of C. diff organisms present in the room, but also curbed future outbreaks. Since an ultraviolet light system can treat every corner and surface of a resident’s room, it may be a far better way to eradicate pathogens, the researchers concluded.

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