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Investigation of the effects of an ultraviolet germicidal irradiation system on concentrations of aerosolized surrogates for common veterinary pathogens

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  • 1 1Environment, Exposure Science, and Risk Assessment Center, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.
  • | 2 2Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, College of Wildlife and Natural Resources, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • | 3 3Water and Energy Sustainable Technology Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85745.
  • | 4 4Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine whether exposure to UV germicidal irradiation (UVGI) reduces concentrations of viable aerosolized microorganisms (attenuated strains of common veterinary pathogens) in a simulated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

SAMPLE

42 air samples seeded with bacteriophage MS2 or attenuated strains of Bordetella bronchiseptica, feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus-1, canine parvovirus, or canine distemper virus (6/microorganism) or with no microorganisms added (6).

PROCEDURES

A simulated HVAC unit was built that included a nebulizer to aerosolize microorganisms suspended in phosphate-buffered water, a fan to produce airflow, 2 UVGI bulb systems, and an impinger for air sampling. Ten-minute trials (3 with UVGI, 3 without UVGI, and 1 negative control) were conducted for each microorganism. Impingers collected microorganisms into phosphate-buffered water for subsequent quantification with culture-based assays. Results for samples yielding no target microorganisms were recorded as the assay's lower limit of detection. Statistical analysis was not performed.

RESULTS

The UVGI treatment resulted in subjectively lower concentrations of viable MS2, B bronchiseptica, and canine distemper virus (arithmetic mean ± SD log10 microorganism reduction, 2.57 ± 0.47, ≥ 3.45 ± 0.24, and ≥ 1.50 ± 0.25, respectively) collected from air. Feline herpesvirus-1 was detected in only 1 sample without and no samples with UVGI treatment. Feline calicivirus and canine parvovirus were not detectable in any collected samples.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results for some surrogates of veterinary pathogens suggested a potential benefit to supplementing manual disinfection practices with UVGI-based air cleaning systems in animal care environments. Further research is needed to investigate the utility of UVGI in operating HVAC systems.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine whether exposure to UV germicidal irradiation (UVGI) reduces concentrations of viable aerosolized microorganisms (attenuated strains of common veterinary pathogens) in a simulated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

SAMPLE

42 air samples seeded with bacteriophage MS2 or attenuated strains of Bordetella bronchiseptica, feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus-1, canine parvovirus, or canine distemper virus (6/microorganism) or with no microorganisms added (6).

PROCEDURES

A simulated HVAC unit was built that included a nebulizer to aerosolize microorganisms suspended in phosphate-buffered water, a fan to produce airflow, 2 UVGI bulb systems, and an impinger for air sampling. Ten-minute trials (3 with UVGI, 3 without UVGI, and 1 negative control) were conducted for each microorganism. Impingers collected microorganisms into phosphate-buffered water for subsequent quantification with culture-based assays. Results for samples yielding no target microorganisms were recorded as the assay's lower limit of detection. Statistical analysis was not performed.

RESULTS

The UVGI treatment resulted in subjectively lower concentrations of viable MS2, B bronchiseptica, and canine distemper virus (arithmetic mean ± SD log10 microorganism reduction, 2.57 ± 0.47, ≥ 3.45 ± 0.24, and ≥ 1.50 ± 0.25, respectively) collected from air. Feline herpesvirus-1 was detected in only 1 sample without and no samples with UVGI treatment. Feline calicivirus and canine parvovirus were not detectable in any collected samples.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results for some surrogates of veterinary pathogens suggested a potential benefit to supplementing manual disinfection practices with UVGI-based air cleaning systems in animal care environments. Further research is needed to investigate the utility of UVGI in operating HVAC systems.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Verhougstraete (mverhougstraete@email.arizona.edu).