Hospitals turn to copper to combat pathogens

Copper can kill or inactivate a variety of pathogens by interacting with oxygen and modifying oxygen molecules.

The Washington Post in its Sept. 20 edition reported that some 15 U.S. hospitals have either installed or are considering installing, copper components on “high-touch” surfaces easily contaminated with microbes, such as faucet handles and toilet levers.

On any given day, about 1 in 25 patients in acute-care hospitals has at least one health-care-associated infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2011, about 75,000 patients with health-care-associated infections died in the hospital.

Copper can kill or inactivate a variety of pathogens by interacting with oxygen and modifying oxygen molecules. A recent study found that copper also destroys norovirus.

There has been only one published clinical trial showing how copper reduces infections in hospitals. The results, however, were striking.

More details here.

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