What is UVGI?
Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is an established means of disinfection and can be used to prevent the spread of certain infectious diseases.
It is a proven, professional-level means of disinfection for hospitals and other highly sensitive environments where maintaining sanitary air circulation and surface areas are critical.
UVGI or Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation is a term used by Federal Agencies such OSHA, NIOSH and the CDC when referring to UV-C.
The History of UVGI
Despite Ultra Violet Germicidal Irradiation’s (UVGI) long history, many animal care professionals are not familiar with the history of UVGI and how it has been utilized for infection control in human health care and government facilities.
UV has been a known mutagen at the cellular level for more than one hundred years.
As early as 1845, it was known that microorganisms respond to light.
In 1878, Arthur Downes and Thomas P. Blunt published a paper describing the sterilization of bacteria exposed to short-wavelength light.
The 1903 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to Niels Finsen for his use of UV against lupus vulgaris, tuberculosis of the skin.
William F. Wells discovered the spread of airborne infection by droplet nuclei and demonstrated the ability of UVGI to prevent such spread.
Despite early successes in applying UVGI, its use would soon subside. It wasn’t until decades of under-utilization and neglect that the enduring research of Riley and others, and an increase in tuberculosis (TB) emerged during the 1980s, that interest in UVGI was revitalized.
Since then, multiple studies have shown it is capable of disinfecting and preventing the spread of various infectious diseases.
For more information on UVGI’s history, we recommend this fantastic article from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health .
How UVGI Works
UVGI works as a mutagen to bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms on a cellular level, penetrating the cell wall. This disrupts the microorganism DNA (deoxyrilbonucleic acid), breaking the carbon bond, which causes the death of the cell and/or renders it helpless.
PetAirapy’s air purification and surface sanitation systems utilize UV-C germicidal energy. Our proprietary sizing method allows us to know how much germicidal energy is needed in your faculty to kill zoonotic pathogens.
Independent EPA approved laboratory test results show that PetAirapy UVGI had over 99.9% kill rate against zoonotic pathogens.
Why Utilize UVGI within the Animal Care Industry?
Respiratory infections are easily spread through the air and you want to inactivate airborne viruses and bacteria as quickly and as effectively as possible – Ultra Violet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) systems have proven that they are capable of doing this again and again.
UVGI has the ability to kill the microbes that are known to cause:There are different airborne transmissions routes, including droplet and droplet nuclei. A standard droplet is generally greater than 10 µm, and they aren’t going to stay suspended in the air. These are disinfected using surface cleaners and can be followed up with PetAirapy’s surface disinfection units for a 99.9% kill rate.
However, droplet nuclei are even smaller – less than 5 µm in diameter, and they can stay in the air traveling on dust particles for extended periods of time. In order to prevent the spread of droplet nuclei, special procedures need to be put into place for air handling and ventilation – which is why UVGI is a top solution.
All of the different microbes as discussed above, including Canine Influenza and Canine Cough (Kennel Cough) can involve pathogens that are under 5 µ in size. View the specific sizes of droplet nuclei of relevant zoonotic pathogens to learn more.
This also includes mold spores, animal dander, MRSA, and a variety of other pathogens that can cause an animal to become extremely sick and spread infection throughout your facility.
UVGI also provides energy saving benefits!
PetAirapy’s UV light will also naturally and safely break down and clear away the mold and biofilm that over time, build up on HVAC coils, plenums, drain pans and ducts. VOC’s and odors that are suspended in the air will become neutralized as it passes over our UV lamps and Photo Catalytic Oxidation (PCO) cages. Once your coils are clean it can lower your energy cost by reducing pressure drop and improve heat transfer increasing cooling capacity.
Selecting a UVGI System
There is no “one size fits all” solution when choosing a UV air and surface disinfection systems.
Furthermore, the array of zoonotic pathogens is considerably different from pathogens that infect and they must be addressed individually to ensure high levels of removal by any given air treatment system. PetAirapy’s proprietary sizing method is specifically adapted for zoonotic pathogens and may result in different design parameters (i.e. lamp power levels, filter size, airflows, etc.) than system sizing methods used for human indoor environments.
As stated in a journal article published by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers): “A UVGI system design today relies on performance data from lamp manufacturers, the experience of system designers, and the recommendations of UVGI equipment manufacturers.” (ASHRAE Journal, August 2008).
Most air treatment equipment manufacturers employ detailed methods for estimating the UV dose delivered, which may include using tabulated data, mathematical modeling, or complex formulas. The effectiveness of any UVGI system depends primarily on the UV fluence or dose (μJ/cm2 or J/m2) delivered to the microorganisms which, in turn, depends on the exposure time (sec). The susceptibility of each microbe to UV inactivation must be considered in order to establish the Kill Rate or removal rate.
By addressing the specific pathogens of concern in any animal facility, the PetAirapy design process can ensure that the highest practical removal rates can be achieved and that the risk of zoonotic disease transmission can thereby be minimized.
It comes down to people bringing their animals or pets into you for care.
They trust that you have everything under control, and this includes sanitation and disinfection. You want to inactivate airborne viruses and bacteria as quickly and as effectively as possible – and UVGI systems have proven that they are capable of doing this again and again.
It can provide peace of mind knowing that you are able to kill pathogens in the air as well is on surfaces to ensure that you are doing your best not to harm any of the animals that come into your location.
UVGI is something that animal care facilities of all sizes should invest in. It is capable of disinfecting the air and surfaces, and can help to prevent the spread of a variety of diseases that can affect canines, felines, and other animals that may visit an animal care facility.