To evaluate the effect of UV germicidal irradiation of the air on the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) in kittens in a nursery.
4- to 8-week-old kittens admitted to a kitten nursery in 2016 and 2018.
2 UV germicidal irradiation systems (1 within the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system and 1 attached to the ceiling) were installed in a kitten nursery. Data were collected on the number of kittens in which a URI was diagnosed by means of a physical examination. The incidence of URIs was compared between 2016, when no UV systems were used, and 2018, when the UV systems were used.
The overall incidence of URIs in 2016 was 12.4 cases/100 kitten admissions and in 2018 was 1.6 cases/100 kitten admissions, a significant decrease of 87.1% between the years.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
A significant reduction in the incidence of URIs in kittens in a nursery was noted when the UV germicidal irradiation systems were used. Therefore, airborne transmission of feline respiratory pathogens may be more important than has been previously recognized. Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation systems that disinfect the air may be an effective adjunct to standard infection prevention and control protocols in reducing the risk of the transmission of respiratory pathogens among kittens in nurseries and shelters. However, additional studies are needed to confirm the findings reported here.