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PLoS One. 2017 Oct 31;12(10):e0187377. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187377. eCollection 2017.

UVC radiation as an effective disinfectant method to inactivate human papillomaviruses.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Pennsylvania State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
Department of Microbiology & Molecular Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, United States of America.


Endocavitary ultrasound probes are part of a commonly used procedure in the clinical arena. The cavities examined, vaginal canal and cervix, anal canal, and oral cavity are all areas commonly infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV), thus making them susceptible to contamination by HPV. It has been demonstrated that these probes can remain contaminated with high-risk HPV even when approved disinfection protocols have been performed. we have previously shown that HPV is resistant to some high-level disinfectant (HLD). In our present study we analyzed efficacy of using high-level ultra-violet C (UVC) radiation against HPV16 and HPV18 using a hard-surface carrier test. Stocks of infectious authentic HPV16 and HPV18 virions were dried onto carriers with a 5% (v/v) protein soil or 4ppm hard water. Efficacy testing were performed with the automated device, Antigermix S1 device (UVC radiation at 253.7nm) and 0.55% OPA in quadruplicate with matched input, neutralization, and cytotoxicity controls. Hypochlorite was included as a positive control for viral deactivation. Infectivity was determined by the abundance (qRT-PCR) of the spliced E1^E4 transcript in infected recipient cells. The automated Antigermix S1 device showed excellent efficacy against HPV16 and HPV18 whereas OPA showed minimal efficacy. While HPV is highly resistant to OPA, high-level UVC radiation offers an effective disinfection practice for ultrasound probes. Our results suggest that healthcare facilities using endocavitary ultrasound probes need to strongly consider disinfection methods that are effective against HPV.

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