Copper surfaces kill 97% hospital bacteria, cut infection

Using copper surfaces in ICUs can kill 97 percent of bacteria and reduce infections by 40 percent, according to a new study presented at the World Health Organization 1st International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control (ICPIC) in Geneva on Friday, reports Reuters.

Funded by the Department of Defense, researchers studied three hospitals that replaced the most heavily contaminated surfaces in ICUs with antimicrobial copper and tested the surface for remaining bacteria following the "terminal cleaning" after the patient leaves the room. Researchers found that the copper replacements had a significant effect.

As the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to Reuters, hospital-acquired infections have been in the spotlight, now tied to reimbursements.

"Bacteria present on ICU room surfaces are probably responsible for up to 80 percent of patient infections, demonstrating how critical it is to keep hospitals clean," Dr. Michael Schmidt, professor and vice chairman of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina, told Reuters. "The copper objects used in the clinical trial lowered microbial levels and supplemented cleaning protocols."

For more:
- read the Reuters article

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