VIDEO: Germ-zapping 'robot' joins staff at Essentia Health in FargoFARGO – BEE is the nickname for a device that beams ultraviolet light to kill germs to prevent infections at Essentia Health.
By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM
FARGO – BEE is the nickname for a device that beams ultraviolet light to kill germs to prevent infections at Essentia Health.
The Xenex robot, which has been on the job for two months, was given a chance to shine in a demonstration Friday.
BEE stands for Bugs Eliminated Everywhere, the winning suggestion in an employee naming contest that alludes to its 360-degree spray of disinfecting light.
The machine, which cost $80,000, is believed to be the first germ-zapping robot in a North Dakota health care setting. Essentia also has a Xenex robot in use at its Duluth, Minn., campus.
Dr. Prakash Kafle, an infectious disease specialist, said it is another line of defense in the fight against hospital-acquired infections.
“This is one of the additional tools,” he said. “We are continuing everything we did in the past,” such as using bleach disinfectant when cleaning.
Studies have shown using ultraviolet-emitting devices have reduced the spread of hospital-acquired infections by 50 to 60 percent, Kafle said.
“That’s amazing,” he said. “There is nothing else like that in the market.”
Fighting infections is taking on added urgency because of the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The cleaning system, which uses xenon ultraviolet light, or UV-C, is thousands of times more powerful than the sun in destroying bacteria, viruses, fungi and bacterial spores.
It also kills dangerous germs including Clostridium difficile, norovirus, influenza and “staph” infections such as including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA.
“It gives me an extra level of comfort,” in preventing infection spread, Kafle said.
The machine, which loosely resembles a commercial floor cleaner, is only used in an unoccupied room because its intense light beam would be harmful.
The unit is equipped with motion sensors to automatically shut down in the event someone enters the room. Warning signs are placed on the door and in front of the door to bar entry.
The device is used to disinfect patient rooms, operating rooms, emergency suites and diagnostic imaging rooms in the hospital. Over time, Essentia wants to expand the use to outpatient areas in the clinic.
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Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522