Ellis Medicine in Schenectady County, New York, US, has become the first hospital in the region to install germ-fighting technology from Xenex Healthcare Services.

The UV room disinfection equipment will assist the hospital in reducing the presence of bacteria, including Clostridium difficile (C. diff), which causes inflammation of the colon and can live for months in an environment.

Ellis Medicine chief medical officer David Liebers said the hospital has a strong prevention programme in place and is already lowering infection rates.

"We’re taking this additional step to provide our patients with an extra layer of protection," he added.

The portable room disinfection device transmits blue ultraviolet light throughout the patient room to eliminate bacteria, bacterial spores and viruses.

The hospital will use the device after careful cleaning of rooms where patients with infectious conditions have stayed.

Xenex chief scientific officer Mark Stibich said the system was first used in late 2010, meaning early customers have had enough time to calculate the impact Xenex is having on infection rates.

"In one hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts, Clostridium difficile (C. diff) rates dropped 67% after adding UV light disinfection to their cleaning process," he added.

The 455-bed community and teaching healthcare facility has three campuses in Ellis Hospital, Ellis Health Center and Bellevue Woman’s Center.