UV Light is Found to Kick TB’s Butt

I am starting to see ultraviolet wavelengths of light as the ninja of the world of medical light.  Just recently we’ve discovered (we as in the royal we, humanity – har har) that UV light kills the MSRA Stapholococcus bacteria, and that it kills members of the Coliform family of bacteria on keyboards in hospitals.  I just read that doctors and researchers are discovering that UV light also puts the smackdown on tuberculosis, possibly cutting the spread of it in common areas and sensitive hospital rooms by almost 70%.

<whapCHA!  slap! bonk!>

If you read about drug-resistant strains of TB, you’ll discover some pretty freaking terrible news and statistics, and news of too many deaths related to infection of drug-resistant TB.  But, even drug-resistant TB gets SLAPPED in ultraviolet light.  UV light is already used to disinfect ambulances and operating rooms.

<punch – kick>

An experiment was conducted with infected patients in Peru that brought researchers to this conclusion – one C-class UV fixture was placed in a room lighting scenario with a fan to stir the air in the room, and contraction was greatly reduced.  The idea is that when a person infected with tuberculosis coughs, the bug is expelled into the air.  When a UV fixture is added to the room, the light disables the bacteria so that it can’t divide, infect, or grow.  Boom.

From an article in Science Daily about the experiment:

To reach their conclusions, scientists hung UVC lights in a hospital ward in Lima, Perú where 69 patients with HIV and TB were being treated. The researchers pumped air from the ward up to a guinea pig enclosure on the roof of the hospital for 535 consecutive days. The guinea pigs were split into three groups of approximately 150: the first group received air exposed to the UV lights in the ward, the second group received ward air treated with negative ionisers, and the third control group was given untreated air straight from the ward. The guinea pigs were given skin tests for tuberculosis once a month.

By the end of the experiment, 35% of the control group were infected with TB, compared to 14% of the ionised air group and 9.5% of the UVC group. 8.6% of the control group developed the active form of the disease after being infected with TB, compared to 4.3% of the ionised air group and 3.6% of the UVC group.


Just in case it wasn’t scary enough – ladies and gentlemen, Tuberculosis.

Thanks, Science Daily, AFP, US News, and Health Jockey!