Coming to the Light: Impact of Ultraviolet Technology on Incidence of Pseudomonas in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit


      There have been numerous publications and presentations on the effectiveness of ultraviolet light disinfection (UVD). Most of them focus on the impact of multidrug resistant organisms and Clostridium difficile spores in the environment. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a ubiquitous organism, can be found on a multitude of surfaces in the healthcare environment, including respiratory equipment in critical care units. With such a pervasive organism, the exposure risk and potential transmission to vulnerable patients makes it a leading cause of healthcare acquired respiratory tract infections. The purpose of this abstract is to describe the effects of UVD on the incidence of Pseudomonas in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).


      A retrospective review of the incidence of positive Pseudomonas lab cultures was done beginning in 2012, the year prior to implementing UVD. The aim was to use UVD as an adjunct to periodic terminal cleaning on a quarterly and as-needed basis. Incidence rates were calculated based on the number of positive lab results as well as on the number of impacted patients, as some infants had repeated positive cultures with long hospitalizations, requiring extensive ventilator support.


      After implementation of UVD, a dramatic decrease in the incidence of Pseudomonas was noted, potentially avoiding numerous infants from becoming colonized or infected. Despite not always being used routinely, the use of UVD is a worthwhile adjunct to terminal cleaning in the NICU.