Evaluation of Ultraviolet-C Light for Rapid Decontamination of Airport Security Bins in the Era of SARS-CoV-2

Main Article Content

Jennifer Cadnum
Daniel F. Li
Lucas D. Jones
Sarah N. Redmond
Basya Pearlmutter
Brigid Wilson
Curtis J. Donskey


Background:  Contaminated surfaces are a potential source for spread of respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2.  Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) light is effective against RNA and DNA viruses and could be useful for decontamination of high-touch fomites that are shared by multiple users. 

Methods:  A modification of the American Society for Testing and Materials standard quantitative carrier disk test method (ASTM E-2197-11) was used to examine the effectiveness of ultraviolet-C (UV-C) light for rapid decontamination of plastic airport security bins inoculated at 3 sites with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and bacteriophages MS2, PhiX174, and Phi6, an enveloped RNA virus used as a surrogate for coronaviruses. Three log10 reductions on inoculated plastic bins were considered effective for decontamination. 

Results: UV-C light administered as 10-, 20-, or 30-second cycles in proximity to a plastic bin reduced contamination on each of the test sites, including vertical and horizontal surfaces.  The 30-second cycle met criteria for decontamination of all 3 test sites for all the test organisms except bacteriophage MS2 which was reduced by greater than 2 log10 PFU at each site. 

Conclusions: UV-C light is an attractive technology for rapid decontamination of airport security bins.  Further work is needed to evaluate the utility of UV-C light in real-world settings and to develop methods to provide automated movement of bins through a UV-C decontamination process.

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