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Antimicrobial copper kills 97 percent of deadly bacteria, reduces infection rate by 40 percent

Friday, July 15, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: copper, antimicrobial, health news

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(NaturalNews) A new study presented at the World Health Organization's (WHO) 1st International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control (ICPIC) in Geneva, Switzerland, has revealed that the use of antimicrobial copper surfaces in hospitals helps reduce the rate of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) by 40 percent. The metal also effectively kills 97 percent of bacteria, as well as many viral and fungal pathogens.

Conducted at three intensive care units (ICUs) in the US, the study found that when conventional surfaces were replaced with copper surfaces, patient HAI rates dropped by 40.4 percent. And direct tests involving deadly pathogens and copper surfaces revealed that the antimicrobial metal quickly and effectively kills the vast majority of pathogens it comes into contact with, including many pathogens that have developed resistance to antibiotics and other drug interventions.

"Copper's rapid destruction of pathogens could prevent mutational resistance developing and also help reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance genes to receptive and potentially more virulent organisms, as well as genes responsible for virulence," said Prof. Bill Keevil, head of the Microbiology Group and director of the Environmental Healthcare Unit at the University of Southampton in the UK.

"Additionally, copper touch surfaces could have a key role in preventing the transmission of healthcare-associated infections. Extensive laboratory tests have demonstrated copper's antimicrobial efficacy against key organisms responsible for these infections, and clinical trials around the world are now reporting on its efficacy in busy, real-world environments."

The findings support previous ones involving antimicrobial silver, which is also known to have powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal capabilities. In 2008, a company actually developed antimicrobial silver hospital pajamas for patients concerned about contracting deadly hospital superbugs like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (http://www.naturalnews.com/023879_silver_hea...).

"Bacteria present on ICU room surfaces are probably responsible for 35 to 80 percent of patient infections, demonstrating how critical it is to keep hospitals clean," said Dr. Michael Schmidt, professor and vice chairman of Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), one of the three hospitals involved in the trial.

"The copper objects used in the clinical trial supplemented cleaning protocols, lowered microbial levels, and resulted in a statistically significant reduction in the number of infections contracted by patients treated in those rooms."

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