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OKC hospital has new tech tool in fight against germs

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A new kind of technology is being used to get rid of the deadly consequences of spreading infection in hospitals around the country.

Bacteria beware, a 5-foot-2 robot packs a powerful punch to dangerous diseases.

Rachael Sparks is the Xenex Technical Director and has been with the robot every step of the way.

"I kind of think of it as looking at a bacteria and calling it a sissy," she said.

St. Anthony Hospital is the first hospital in Oklahoma to bring one of the germ-fighting robots through its doors.

Here's how it works; after a normal cleaning, staff brings the robot in and lets it run for five minutes.

The top comes up and pulses a strong UV light.

When that light hits germs, it fries the cell wall, destroying it.

"Because when they bring in a Xenex robot to disinfect hospital rooms, they are putting patients first and making sure there are no more germs left in any patient room," Sparks said.

Twenty times more effective than using bleach, there's no spot the superbug zapper can't reach.

"Nooks and crannies are its specialty," Sparks said. "Wherever light can go, wherever light can hit, it's going to disinfect."

The number of hospital-acquired infections has plummeted since St. Anthony became home to the robot that looks like R2D2.

They said it's a sign that they are effectively giving bacteria the boot.

"It's kind of the equivalent of giving somebody a shove and coming at them with a jackhammer, is what Xenon technology does." Sparks said.

The UV light is so strong it can only be used when a room is empty because it could irritate your eyes and skin.

The light can't penetrate glass or walls though, so it's completely safe to watch from the outside.