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Findings Suggest New Method to Fight Staph Infections

School districts in middle Tennessee recently have reported several cases of staph infection among students and school workers. //A biology professor at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is involved in research that holds the promise of helping to reduce the number of these infections. The research may also point to new ways to combat other pathogens such as anthrax, SARS and avian flu.

Dr. Anthony Newsome and some of his students are investigating the effectiveness of chlorine dioxide gas in killing the germs that live in sports equipment such as shoulder pads and helmets.

According to Newsome, use of the chemical to kill germs is not new. It has a long history of use as a disinfectant, and it is used worldwide to treat tap water and preserve food. Unfortunately, it is too unstable to ship as a gas and must be produced on site. Historically, this has required bulky equipment and training of personnel to operate the equipment.

What makes his research significant is the new method used to generate chlorine dioxide. Instead of bulky equipment, he is using a system involving a dry chemical powder stored in a container about the size of a salt shaker. When the powder is activated small amounts of chlorine dioxide gas is released.

The chemical system used in the tests was produced by ICA TriNova of Newnan, Ga. In 2001, Joel Tenney, the company's executive vice president, and several other individuals with backgrounds in public health and chemical engineering developed technology for a new method of producing small amounts of chlorine dioxide to meet specific needs. Tenney says his company's system differs from older methods of chlorine dioxide generation in that it’s portable and simple to apply.

Early in the company’s development, ICA TriNova showed that its products could be used effectively to deodorize and decontaminate military clothing and equipment, and these products are currently being used by som
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