Local hospital uses new technology to curb silent killer - CBS46 News

Local hospital uses new technology to curb silent killer

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About 99,000 people die every year in the U.S. from hospital-acquired infections. That's equal to the number of deaths annually from car crashes, breast cancer and AIDS combined.

But WellStar Health System is working to cut down on the number of infections with new robotic technology called Xenex.

The Xenex room disinfection system, which looks somewhat like the Star Wars character R2-D2, uses pulses of high-intensity ultraviolet light to kill bacteria without contact or chemicals. The device is moved from room to room, and can disinfect surfaces and the air in a matter of minutes.

The UV light penetrates the cell walls of microorganisms such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile, and damages their DNA so they're unable to mutate or reproduce. 

In hospital trials, Xenex was found to be 20 times more effective than standard cleaning methods, and a recent study proved it is more effective than bleach in reducing C-diff, a bacterium commonly found in hospitals that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.  

WellStar's Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Quality Officer Dr. Marcia Delk said the technology is not meant to replace standard cleaning practices, but supplement them. Xenex is able to reach areas where bleach can't be used, providing safer surroundings for patients.

The technology is being used on all WellStar campuses, not only in patient rooms and operating rooms, but also in common areas and restrooms.

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