A UV-sanitized siphons to combat hospital germs

April 17, 2019 //By Julien Happich
The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been involved with development of processes and equipment for cleaning, sterilization, and surface modification for decades.

As a partner in the newly launched "Siphon" project, the Fraunhofer FEP will be presenting the Institute's current research focused on the field of hygiene and sanitation at the MedTecLIVE trade fair in Nuremberg, May 21-23, 2019.

About 800,000 to 900,000 people every year in Germany alone suffer from nosocomial infections, i.e. infections that occur in connection with hospitalizations. About one third of these cases are caused by retrograde bacterial exposure of immuno-compromised patients.

Bacteria ingress in a non-sanatized siphon.

One of the many sources of this is the hospital water system. While primary water is sterilized, bacteria can enter the hospital almost unhindered via the drainage system. As a large-scale study has shown, bacteriological colonization first takes place via the sewage pipes connected to the odour trap in the sink drain that contains water, called the siphon.

If the water tap is opened, primary water flows down through the drain. At the same time, the air mass above the water in the siphon is forced upwards into the sink – pulling bacteria with it. These bacteria can be detected in a roughly three-foot radius of the sink. And since there is always a person near the sink when the water is running, it can be assumed that bacteria can practically always be transmitted this way.

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