Humphreys, Paul, Davies, Christopher S. and Rout, S. (2014) An evaluation of the infection control potential of a UV clinical podiatry unit. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 7 (17). ISSN 1757-1146

Background: Infection control is a key issue in podiatry as it is in all forms of clinical practice. Airborne
contamination may be particularly important in podiatry due to the generation of particulates during treatment.
Consequently, technologies that prevent contamination in podiatry settings may have a useful role. The aims of this
investigation were twofold, firstly to determine the ability of a UV cabinet to protect instruments from airborne
contamination and secondly to determine its ability to remove microbes from contaminated surfaces and
Method: A UV instrument cabinet was installed in a University podiatry suite. Impact samplers and standard
microbiological techniques were used to determine the nature and extent of microbial airborne contamination.
Sterile filters were used to determine the ability of the UV cabinet to protect exposed surfaces. Artificially
contaminated instruments were used to determine the ability of the cabinet to remove microbial contamination.
Results: Airborne bacterial contamination was dominated by Gram positive cocci including Staphylococcus aureus.
Airborne fungal levels were much lower than those observed for bacteria. The UV cabinet significantly reduced
(p < 0.05) the observed levels of airborne contamination. When challenged with contaminated instruments the
cabinet was able to reduce microbial levels by between 60% to 100% with more complex instruments e.g. clippers,
remaining contaminated.
Conclusions: Bacterial airborne contamination is a potential infection risk in podiatry settings due to the presence
of S. aureus. The use of a UV instrument cabinet can reduce the risk of contamination by airborne microbes. The UV
cabinet tested was unable to decontaminate instruments and as such could pose an infection risk if misused.
Keywords: Infection control, UV, Bacteria, Fungi, Dermatophytes, Contamination

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