June 14, 2012 11:52 ET

Hospital Environmental Surface Contamination Contributes to Transmissible Infection at the Same Level as Direct Patient Contact

SAN ANTONIO, TX--(Marketwire - Jun 14, 2012) - During opening ceremonies of the 2012 APIC Conference (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology), Keynote Speaker William Rutala, MPH, PhD, CIC, delivered the Elaine Larson Lectureship discussing advances in hospital disinfection and sterilization techniques. Rutala serves as Director of Hospital Epidemiology, Occupational Health and Safety Program at University of North Carolina Health Care System and authored CDC's Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities.

Hospitals throughout the country are evaluating their cleaning techniques and have found that "we're doing a pretty poor job," Rutala said. Research cited by Rutala demonstrates that nearly one-third of high-touch, high-risk objects in hospital patient rooms remain contaminated for the next patient.

"There's increasing evidence to support the contribution of the environment to disease transmission -- that we pick up pathogens at the same level by touching the environment as by touching the patient," Rutala stated. "Unless we inactivate or remove those microbes, they are going to be present in a patient room for a long time. Just entering the room previously occupied by a MRSA, VRE, or C. difficile patient significantly increases risk of contacting that pathogen."

The bad news for patients is that the most common nosocomial pathogens may well survive or persist on surfaces for weeks and months, and can be a continuous source of disease transmission (1). "However," Rutala stated, "there is some data that if we improve the thoroughness of cleaning, we can reduce the microbial contamination."

New, effective approaches to room decontamination include an ultraviolet light device (Tru-D SmartUVC™) capable of measuring delivery of a lethal dose of germicidal UV. Earlier studies concluded that Tru-D SmartUVC™ reduced the number of organisms in places that are easily missed or inaccessible to human cleaning. Routine use of Tru-D room disinfection processes to decrease the environmental burden of pathogens is a feasible addition to current infection control and housekeeping measures and may ultimately reduce rates of HAI among patients.

Rutala also discussed an ongoing CDC funded seven-hospital study assessing the effectiveness of enhanced room disinfection using ultraviolet light. The 24 month study will monitor 75,000 patients with MRSA, VRE, multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter and C. diff. Tru-D SmartUVC™ was the only UVC instrument selected for study.

Rutala's 2012 Elaine Larson Lectureship slide presentation can be found at

About Tru-D Smart UVC.

Tru-D SmartUVC™ is the only portable UV disinfection system that precisely measures reflected UVC emissions with Sensor360™ to automatically calculate the pathogen-lethal UV dose required for each room, dynamically compensating for room size, shape and other dose altering variables such as the position of contents, windows, blinds and doors.

Contact Suzanne McCarthy, Clinical Services Director, @ 1-800-774-5799 to schedule an on-site consultation and demonstration, or go to to download copies of published third party data.

(1) "How long do nosocomial pathogens persist on inanimate surfaces? A systematic review" Kramer et al; BMC Infectious Diseases 2006, 6:130.

Contact Information

  • Suzanne McCarthy
    Clinical Services Director