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Sterilising gas could clean hospital wards29th of December 2011
A new way of killing bacteria using sterilising gas could change the way hospital wards are cleaned, it's been claimed. The technique involves pumping a mixture of ozone and hydrogen peroxide into a room to wipe out microbes on walls, mattresses, chairs and other surfaces.
It mirrors the way the immune system tackles bacterial infection - ozone and hydrogen peroxide are produced in tiny quantities in the body to form a highly reactive compound that destroys bugs.
Dr Dick Zoutman, from Queen's University in Canada, who helped develop the system, said: "It works well for Mother Nature and is working very well for us.
"This is the future because many hospital deaths are preventable with better cleaning methods. It has been reported that more than 100,000 people in North America die every year due to hospital-acquired infections. That's 100,000 people every year who are dying from largely preventable infections."
Dr Zoutman is working with the US company Medizone International which plans to make the technology commercially available next year.
The disinfection process takes less than an hour and is said to leave a pleasant smell. It is also safe to use in food preparation areas and can be used to tackle bed bugs, according to Dr Zoutman.
The new technology is featured in the latest edition of the American Journal of Infection Control.