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.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details



1. Guarner J. Three Emerging Coronaviruses in Two Decades. Am J Clin Pathol 2020;153:420-421. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/aqaa029.

2. Zou L, Ruan F, Huang M, Liang L, Huang H, Hong Z, Yu J, Kang M, Song Y, Xia J, Guo Q, Song T, He J, Yen HL, Peiris M, Wu J. SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load in Upper Respiratory Specimens of Infected Patients. N Engl J Med 2020;doi: 10.1056/NEJMc2001737.

3. Hijano DR, Brazelton de Cardenas J, Maron G, Garner CD, Ferrolino JA, Dallas RH, Gu Z, Hayden RT. Clinical correlation of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus load measured by digital PCR. PLoS One 2019;14:e0220908.

4. Walsh EE, Peterson DR, Kalkanoglu AE, Lee FE, Falsey AR. Viral shedding and immune responses to respiratory syncytial virus infection in older adults. J Infect Dis 2013;207:1424-32.

5. Otter JA, Donskey C, Yezli S, Douthwaite S, Goldenberg SD, Weber DJ. Transmission of SARS and MERS coronaviruses and influenza virus in healthcare settings: possible role of dry surface contamination. J Hosp Infect 2016;92:235-50.

6. Doremalen, N, Bushmaker, T, Morris D, et al. Aerosol and surface stability of SARS-CoV-2 as compared with SARS-CoV-1. N Engl J Med 2020. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2004973

7. Casanova LM, et al. Effects of air temperature and relative humidity on coronavirus survival on surfaces. Appl Environ Microbiol 2010;76:2712-7.

8. Boone SA, Gerba CP. Significance of fomites in the spread of respiratory and enteric viral disease. Appl Environ Microbiol 2007;73:1687-96.

9. Phan LT, Sweeney DM, Maita D, Moritz DC, Bleasdale SC, Jones RM; CDC Prevention Epicenters Program. Respiratory viruses in the patient environment. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2020;41:259-266. doi: 10.1017/ice.2019.299.

10. Boone SA, Gerba CP. The occurrence of influenza A virus on household and day care center fomites. J Infect 2005;51:103-9.

11. Fong MW, Leung NHL, Xiao J, Chu DKW, Cheng SMS, So HC, Li Y, Ip DKM, Peiris JSM, Cowling BJ. Presence of influenza virus on touch-surfaces in kindergartens and primary schools. J Infect Dis 2020 Mar 16. pii: jiaa114. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiaa114.

12. Memish ZA, Almasri M, Assirri A, Al-Shangiti AM, Gray GC, Lednicky JA, Yezli S. Environmental sampling for respiratory pathogens in Jeddah airport during the 2013 Hajj season. Am J Infect Control 2014;42:1266-9.

13. Ikonen N, Savolainen-Kopra C, Enstone JE, Kulmala I, Pasanen P, Salmela A, Salo S, Nguyen-Van-Tam JS, Ruutu P; PANDHUB consortium. Bins Deposition of respiratory virus pathogens on frequently touched surfaces at airports. BMC Infectious Diseases 2018;18:437. doi: 10.1093/jtm/tav002.

14. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

15. Darnell ME, Subbarao K, Feinstone SM, Taylor DR. Inactivation of the coronavirus that induces severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS-CoV. J Virol Methods 2004;121:85-91.

16. Tseng CC, Li CS. Inactivation of viruses on surfaces by ultraviolet germicidal irradiation. J Occup Environ Hyg 2007;4:400-5.

17. Beck SE, Ryu H, Boczek LA, Cashdollar JL, Jeanis KM, Rosenblum JS, Lawal OR, Linden KG. Evaluating UV-C LED disinfection performance and investigating potential dual-wavelength synergy. Water Res 2017;109:207-216. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2016.11.024.

18. Lore MB, Heimbuch BK, Brown TL, Wander JD, Hinrichs SH. Effectiveness of Three Decontamination Treatments against Influenza Virus Applied to Filtering Facepiece Respirators. Ann Occupat Hyg 2012;56:92–101. https://doi.org/10.1093/annhyg/mer054

19. Viscusi DJ, Bergman MS, Eimer BC, Shaffer RS. Evaluation of Five Decontamination Methods for Filtering Facepiece Respirators. Ann Occup Hyg 2009;53:815–827. https://doi.org/10.1093/annhyg/mep070

20. Heimbuch BK, Wallace WH, Kinney K, Lumley AE, Wu C, Woo M, Wander JD. A pandemic influenza preparedness study: use of energetic methods to decontaminate filtering facepiece respirators contaminated with H1N1 aerosols and droplets. Am J Infect Control 2011;39:e1-e9.

21. Boyce JM, Donskey CJ. Understanding ultraviolet light surface decontamination in hospital rooms: A primer. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2019;40(9):1030–1035. doi:10.1017/ice.2019.161

22. Donskey CJ. Decontamination devices in health care facilities: Practical issues and emerging applications. Am J Infect Control 2019;47S:A23-A28. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2019.03.005.

23. Smolle C, Huss F, Lindblad M, Reischies F, Tano E. Effectiveness of automated ultraviolet-C light for decontamination of textiles inoculated with Enterococcus faecium. Am J Infect Control 2018;98:102-104.

24. Alhmidi H, et al. Evaluation of an automated UV-C device and patient hand hygiene for reduction of transfer from touchscreen computers. Am J Infect Control 2018;46:464-467.

25. Mathew JI, et al. Evaluation of an enclosed ultraviolet-C radiation device for decontamination of mobile handheld devices. Am J Infect Control 2016;44:724-6.

26. Casanova LM. Evaluation of eluents for the recovery of an enveloped virus from hands by whole-hand sampling. J Appl Microbiol 2015;118:1210-1216. Doi:10.1111/jam.12777.

27. Tomas ME, Kundrapu S, Thota P, Sunkesula VC, Cadnum JL, Mana TS, Jencson A, O'Donnell M, Zabarsky TF, Hecker MT, Ray AJ, Wilson BM, Donskey CJ. Contamination of the skin and clothing of healthcare personnel during removal of personal protective equipment. JAMA Intern Med 2015;175:1904-10. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.4535

28. ASTM International, Designation E2197: Standard Quantitative Disk Carrier Test Method for Determining Bactericidal, Virucidal, Fungicidal, Mycobactericidal, and Sporicidal Activities of Chemicals, 2011.

29. Masiuk, Tina, et al. “Development of a Physiologically Relevant Dripping Analytical Method Using Simulated Nasal Mucus for Nasal Spray Formulation Analysis.” Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis, vol. 6, no. 5, 2016, pp. 283–291., doi:10.1016/j.jpha.2016.05.003.

30. Rutala WA, Kanamori H, Gergen MF, Sickbert-Bennett EE, Weber DJ. Susceptibility of Candida auris and Candida albicans to 21 germicides used in healthcare facilities. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2019;40:380-382. doi: 10.1017/ice.2019.1.

31. Goyal SM, Chander Y, Yezli S, Otter JA. Evaluating the virucidal efficacy of hydrogen peroxide vapour. J Hosp Infect 2014;86:255-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2014.02.003.

32. Lloyd-Evans N, Springthorpe VS, Sattar SA. Chemical disinfection of human rotavirus-contaminated inanimate surfaces. J Hyg (Lond) 1986;97:163-73.

33. Hulkower RL, Casanova LM, Rutala WA, Weber DJ, Sobsey MD. Inactivation of surrogate coronaviruses on hard surfaces by health care germicides. Am J Infect Control 2011;39:401-407. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2010.08.011.

34. Abad FX, Pintó RM, Bosch A. Disinfection of human enteric viruses on fomites. FEMS Microbiol Lett 1997;156:107-11.

35. Lenth R. emmeans: Estimated Marginal Means, aka Least-Squares Means. R package version 1.3.3. 2019. https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=emmeans.

36. Emig E, Alhmidi H, Ng-Wong YK, Mana TSC, Cadnum JL, Donskey CJ. Efficacy of a novel ultraviolet light-emitting diode device for decontamination of shared pens in a health care setting. Am J Infect Control 2020;48:100-102. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2019.07.014.

37. Shaikh AA, Ely D, Cadnum JL, Koganti S, Alhmidi H, Sankar C T, Jencson AL, Kundrapu S, Donskey CJ. Evaluation of a low-intensity ultraviolet-C radiation device for decontamination of computer keyboards. Am J Infect Control 2016;44:705-7.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>