Researchers Examine UV Powder, Gel for Assessing Environmental Cleaning

Silvia Munoz-Price, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine at the University of Miami, and colleagues, report in the February issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology on their comparison of cleaning rates associated with use of a white ultraviolet (UV) powder versus a transparent UV gel among units with various degrees of previous experience with UV powder.

The study outcome was the presence of discordant cleaning (removal of powder without the removal of gel, or vice versa). The researchers say they found higher frequency of discordance in high-experience units (31 percent) than in no-experience units (8 percent). In 92 percent of discordant findings, the powder was removed but not the gel.

In total, 13 inpatient units were used for placement of markers: high experience (5), mild experience (3), and no experience (5). A total of 498 surfaces in 60 inpatient rooms were evaluated with both powder and gel. Just three of the 60 rooms observed underwent terminal cleaning between marker applications and inspections. Additionally, three of the 498 objects were removed from the rooms before the 48-hour observations; these objects were removed from the analysis.

Of the 495 objects left for analysis, 388 (78.3 percent) had concordant readings between powder and gel, and the remaining 107 (21.6 percent) had discordant readings (disagreement between powder and gel; ). Of all the discordant readings, 98 (91.5 percent) had the powder removed and not the gel. The remaining 9 (8.5 percent) discordant pairs had the gel removed but not the powder. Discordant results varied on the basis of the previous UV powder experience of the units. High-experience units had 69 (31 percent) discordant results, mild-experience units had 27 (21 percent) discordant results, and no-experience units had 11 (8 percent) discordant results. There was a statistically significant difference between high-experience and no-experience units and between mild-experience and no-experience units, and the researchers say their findings suggest preferential cleaning of visible UV targets among units with high levels of previous experience with powder.

Reference: Munoz-Price S, et al. Ultraviolet Powder versus Ultraviolet Gel for Assessing Environmental Cleaning, Infect Control Hosp Epidem. Vol. 22, No. 2.  February 2012.