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September 14, 1979

Erythema and ConjunctivitisOutbreak Caused by Inadvertent Exposure to Ultraviolet Light

Author Affiliations

From the Field Services Division, Bureau of Epidemiology, Center for Disease Control, Public Health Service, US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (Dr Rose); and Bureau of Epidemiology (Dr Parker); South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Columbia.

JAMA. 1979;242(11):1155-1156. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03300110027021

During August to November 1977, fifty-eight episodes of erythema or conjunctivitis or both occurred among nursing-service employees at a large state hospital. Epidemiologic investigation implicated an ultraviolet-light— producing germicidal bulb in a nursing station's desk lamp as the causative agent. Removal of the lamp from the nursing station controlled the outbreak. Analysis of the spectral irradiance from the bulb suggested that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health exposure standards were exceeded in five to 20 minutes, depending on the individual's distance from the lamp.

(JAMA 242:1155-1156, 1979)