Indoor air in a healthcare environment is a veritable invisible cloud of particulate matter, microorganisms (including spores, viruses and bacteria) and volatile organic compounds (emitted by cleaning products and furniture) dust, lint from hospital linens and fabrics, surgical smoke, and even pollen and animal dander brought in on the clothes of staff, patients and visitors. Traces of chemicals, gases and fumes can also be present. Surfaces can become contaminated with fallen particulate matter that can then be picked up and transferred on the hands of healthcare workers.
One new way of battling these contaminants is air/room sterilization, with several technology options available currently:
• STERIS Corporation offers advanced room sterilization with the VaproSure Sterilizer, featuring Vaprox® Sterilant, when used as part of a room’s terminal cleaning program. The VaproSure Sterilizer is a low-temperature dry vapor designed to destroy a full spectrum of biological contaminants, including spores, bacteria, viruses and fungi, leaving no residue and no lingering odor.
• The PlasmairT2006 with HEPA-MD technology from AirInSpace is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared mobile air decontamination unit which multi-year clinical study data suggests can contribute to reducing the incidence of airborne aspergillosis infection. The AirInSpace technology is designed to demonstrate up to 99.999 percent single-pass inactivation of airborne microorganisms.
• Xenex Technologies, Inc. offers two portable xenon pulse UV sterilization devices that produce brief pulse of intense UV light that penetrates the cell walls of viruses, bacterium, fungi and mold to fuse the strands of DNA (creating thymine dimers), resulting in cell death. The devices are portable, can be operated by one person with minimal training and can sterilize the air and visible surfaces in a room in minutes. These devices are able to kill bacterial spores at a distance of 2 meters from the lamp in 8 minutes without the use of any chemicals.
• Advanced Vapor Technologies’ TANCS steam vapor disinfection system is designed to disinfect surfaces colonized by the Acinetobacter baumannii, which can cause a variety of diseases, ranging from pneumonia to serious blood or wound infections.