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Phoenix VA rolls out cleaning robots to prevent hospital-acquired infections

(KTAR Photo/Kathy Cline)

PHOENIX — The Veterans Administration hospital in Phoenix is using some new technology to combat germs.

Portable robots use what’s called pulsed ultraviolet light to sterilize everything from cell phones to hospital rooms. Ken Carter, VA Environmental Services chief, said the facility has six of these.

“What we’re trying to do is ensure that we eliminate hospital-acquired infections,” Carter said.

The machines are not replacing human housekeepers, Carter said. Rather, they’re used in rooms after they’re cleaned.

Rob Harris with robot manufacturer Xenex says these UV lights have proven very effective against many viruses and bacteria.

“[One robot’s light is] 500 to 2,000 times more intense than sunlight,” he said. “Subsequently, it achieves energy along the entire germicidal spectrum.”

Common bacteria associated with hospital infections include MRSA and e-coli.

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