Continuous Antimicrobial Activity Supplements Routine Cleaning in Hospitals
Activity SUPPLEMENTS Routine Cleaning in Hospitals
Copper bed rails stay cleaner
than plastic for longer periods of time.
Chicago, IL (September 19, 2011) - Research
results demonstrating that hospital bed rails made of
copper have fewer contaminants and remain clean longer than plastic
bed rails were presented at the Interscience
Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in
Chicago, IL on September 19, 2011. The study found that
plastic rails were re-contaminated within minutes of being cleaned,
while the copper rails considerably lowered the amount of bacteria
present - likely as a consequence of the continuous antimicrobial
activity of metallic copper.
Researchers assessed the amount of bacteria present on occupied
patient beds in a medical intensive care unit at the Medical
University of South Carolina Medical Center. Half of the beds were
outfitted as manufactured, with plastic rails; the remaining beds
were modified with copper rail overlays. Both groups were sampled
before cleaning, thirty minutes after being cleaned, and thereafter
at two hour intervals.
Cleaning reduced the bacterial burden on both the plastic and
copper bed rails, but within six hours, the bacterial burden on the
plastic was almost at the same level as before it was cleaned. The
amount of bacteria present on the copper bed rails, however,
remained 90% lower than the levels seen on the control, plastic
"Initial sampling showed that the bacterial burden on the copper
bed rails was 10-fold lower than on the plastic from the outset -
before either was even cleaned. This can be attributed to the
antimicrobial nature of the copper," noted Dr. Michael Schmidt,
Professor and Vice Chairman of Microbiology and Immunology at MUSC
and a study participant.
Previous studies have shown that objects in closest proximity to
patients, e.g. bed rails and call buttons, have the highest levels
of Staphylococcus, methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant
These objects act as reservoirs on which pathogens can survive
for extended periods of time, creating a risk to patients,
healthcare workers and visitors, according to Dr. Schmidt. The use
of antimicrobial materials, such as copper alloys, help reduce the
levels of bacteria that pose risks to human health.
Independent laboratory testing has demonstrated that when
cleaned regularly, antimicrobial copper products kill greater than
99.9% of the following bacteria within two hours of exposure:
MRSA, VRE, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter
aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli
O157:H7. For a complete listing of approved EPA public health
claims for antimicrobial copper, please visit www.antimicrobialcopper.com. Antimicrobial Copper
surfaces are a supplement to and not a substitute for standard
infection control practices and have been shown to reduce microbial
contamination, but do not necessarily prevent cross contamination;
users must continue to follow all current infection control
About Copper Development Association, Inc.
The Copper Development Association is the
information, education, marketing and technical development arm of
the copper, brass and bronze industries in the USA.
press release [40 kb]
For further information contact:
Geralyn Lederman, Ph.D.