Xenex and the War on Germs

Some of you may be familiar with the idea that UV light can kill small microbes within their vicinity. In light of this fact, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center has adopted two robots called Xenex to destroy potentially dangerous microbes using bursts of UV light.

A surprising fact is that 5%-10% of patients admitted to U.S. hospitals acquire an infection while in the hospital. These are the fourth-leading cause of death, after heart disease, stroke, and cancer. When Xenex was tested last summer, St. Joseph’s experienced a 50% decrease in Clostridium difficile infections. This bacterium can result in gastric infections that can even lead to death.

Two Xenex robots regularly patrol rooms and send out flashes of UV light. The rooms have to be empty because UV light can be dangerous for people as well as microbes, but the robots use motion sensing and stop their process of cleaning as soon as a person enters the room. Through this method, Xenex becomes safe and effective in decreasing infections in hospitals.

Even though the two robots combined cost $120,000, the hospital says that the robots have been worth it; because hospitals have to compensate when patients get an infection, the overall decrease in infectious agents in the hospital has paid for itself.

This robot is already being used in over one hundred U.S. hospitals. This robot has already proven that it can kill much more effectively common bleach cleaner, and hopefully we’ll see a higher standard of hospital care in the future!

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