5 people experience vision issues due to bug zapper at Durham VA

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Five people had "concerns with vision" after standing near a bug zapper at the Durham VA.

A spokesperson said the people were participating in a meeting near the insect trapping device.

It was later determined that the device contained the wrong bulb.

Bug zappers generally emit a high-intensity UV light that attracts bugs to the center and then electrocutes them.

It's not clear what bulb was accidentally used in the trapper but UVC lamps used for disinfection purposes "may pose potential health and safety risks depending on the UVC wavelength, dose, and duration of radiation exposure," according to the FDA.

The FDA says direct exposure from some ultraviolet-C lamps may cause painful eye injury and burn-like skin reactions.

The VA spokesperson said the people who experienced issues "are healing."

The VA checked similar equipment across the organization to make sure the wrong bulb wasn't used anywhere else, she said.

Our newsgathering partners at the News & Observer were the first the report the incident. According to the N&O, those injured included three employees, a resident and a contractor.
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