STUDY TEAM: T Singh, O Matuka, T.van Reneen, T Duba, Z Ngcobo, L Muleba, T Nthoke, D Rangongo

NIOH, University of the Witwatersrand, CSIR

Background: Infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) remains a threat to healthcare workers (HCWs) with 8.8 million new active TB cases worldwide every year and nearly 2 million TB deaths. South Africa has the third highest burden of disease in the world, after India and China, with an estimated incidence of 450 000 cases of active TB in 2013 (WHO, 2014). In addition, information on the efficacy of UVGI in reducing environmental TB bacilli in health facilities in the country is scarce. This study will assist by informing policies on preventative measures for TB transmission and contribute to implementation of effective infections control strategies.  The main aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness of UVGI in reducing the levels of airborne TB bacteria in preventing transmission in public sector health facilities.
Method: A cross sectional study with mapping of the public health facilities in various provinces currently using UVGI units as well as identification of high risk facilities without any engineering intervention.  Air samples were collected and tested to ascertain the MTB load over an 8-hour shift when the UVGI units were on.
Progress: The research team has conducted walkthrough inspections in four hospitals in Gauteng province, three in the Western Cape and two in KwaZulu Natal. The total number of environmental samples collected in Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal Province is n=309, n=163 and n=126, respectively, with an overall total of 598 samples.  The samples are analysed for airborne MTB using PCR at the NIOH laboratory.  Infection control questionnaires were also administered for each facility and are currently being captured.


  • Singh TS & Matuka DO. Airborne infection control in healthcare facilities: effecting change. Afr Newsletter on Occup Health and safety 2015; 25:21-24.
  • Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) brochure
  • T Singh, O Matuka, O Kgasha, W Leuschne, T van Reenen, P de Jager.  2016.  Airborne TB transmission: efficacy assessment of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) fixtures marketed in South Africa.  OHSA, submitted