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.
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).
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.
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.