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Copper surfaces reduce the rate of health care-acquired infections in the ICU
Date:4/9/2013

CHICAGO (April 9, 2013) Placement of copper objects in intensive care unit (ICU) hospital rooms reduced the number of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) in patients by more than half, according to a new study published in the May issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, in a special topic issue focused on the role of the environment in infection prevention.

In the United States, HAIs result in 100,000 deaths annually and add an estimated $45 billion to healthcare costs. HAIs often contaminate items within hospital rooms, allowing bacteria to transfer from patient to patient. Common microbes include methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE). While several strategies have been developed to decrease HAIs, few have been clinically proven to reduce the spread of these infections. The researchers tested the capability of copper surfaces to reduce environmental contamination of these germs and thereby decrease HAIs in patients. Copper surfaces have an inherent ability to continuously kill environmental microbes on these surfaces.

The study was performed from July 12, 2010 to June 14, 2011 at three medical centers including the Medical University of South Carolina, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Patients who were admitted to the ICU of these hospitals were randomly assigned to receive care in a traditional patient room or in a room where items such as bed rails, tables, IV poles, and nurse's call buttons were made solely from copper-based metals. Both traditional patient rooms and rooms with copper surfaces at each institution were cleaned using the same practices.

The proportion of patients who developed HAI and/or colonization with MRSA or VRE was significantly lower among patients in rooms with copper surfaces (7
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Contact: Tamara Moore
tmoore@gymr.com
202-745-5114
Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America
Source:Eurekalert

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