MRSA And UV Light

I’m sure that by now you have heard that the US hospitals, all over our great nation, are full of MRSA. Every time you are in the hospital and have surgery, you face the chance of contracting a serious and potentially fatal complication of infections. The current drug-resistant pathogen using to combat infections often fall short. Now they are looking at a narrow band of ultraviolet light that might offer a safe and simple solution. Clean surgery is an operation carried out in a sterile environment where no inflammation, infection or unexpected tissue damage occurs. An estimated 0.5-10% of procedures result in surgical-site infection (SSI), even in the ideal situation. This equates to about 275,000 patients in the U.S. per year and in effect, has a mortality rate twice that of someone without an infection.

When diagnosed with an SSI your hospital stay is 1 week longer than someone without an infection that costs the U.S. up to $10 billion a year in extra hospital costs. Deaths that are attributed to SSI each year in the U.S. are estimated at 8,200. 

UV Light Has The Ability To Kill Bacteria

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Our doctors at New Hope Unlimited have seen great results with our patients from using the UV light. Depending on the patients diagnosis, we will use the UV light daily or several times a week. We have been using the UV light for 20 years without any problems. We feel it is a great treatment to add to a patients protocol.

Infections such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) show no signs of slowing and the scientists are concerned the issue might worsen. Columbia university Medical Center researchers are turning their attention to ultraviolet (UV) light as a possible way to fight these surgical invaders. It has been known for some time that UV light has the ability to kill bacteria, including “superbugs” as MRSA. The UV lamps needed for this type of treatment poses a significant health threat to patients and medical staff through damaging the eyes and skin. UV light is also known to induce skin cancer and cataracts. A narrower band of UV light is being investigated to find an alternative that is still toxic to pathogens but safe for human skin and eyes.


Range Of UV Light

This range of light has been chosen because it cannot penetrate the dead layer of skin that coats the living, growing skin, or outer layer of the eye. Wavelengths around 200 nanometers is safely absorbed by proteins and other molecules in the skin and is unable to reach the nucleus of the cells, even though bacterial cells are 10-25 times smaller than human cells and still susceptible to the far-UVC’s damaging rays.

This far UVC light is just as effective at killing MRSA as conventional germicidal UV light. These positive results caused the team to further investigate this range of wavelength and if it might be beneficial in a clinical setting. To investigate its effects on living skin they used hairless mice, whose skin is known to respond in a very similar way to humans’. This demonstrated that far-UVC light did not damage healthy skin cells. They concluded this offers a potential practical pathway towards significantly reducing surgical site infection rates without risk to the health and safety of patients.

Extended research is planned to surgical settings and larger animals, including humans. Hopefully their investigation for the use of far-UVC in the battle against airborne pathogens such as tuberculosis and influenza will be successful.

Perhaps they will find a more cost-effective way of managing these deadly infections. This far-UVC light will not completely remove the risk of SSIs, but hopefully it will save a significant amount of time, money and, most importantly, lives.

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