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Copper power between cleans16th of March 2011
The role of antimicrobial copper touch surfaces as a supplement to routine cleaning to improve hygiene in clinical environments has been investigated further in a study at a hospital in the UK.
A wide selection of standard touch surfaces were replaced with antimicrobial copper equivalents on a general medical ward at Selly Oak hospital. The frequently-touched surfaces identified for substitution with copper-containing surfaces included door furniture, grab rails, trolleys, over-bed tables and taps.
During the six-month study, copper and equivalent control items were sampled once a week for 24 weeks, at least 90 minutes after the morning clean and ahead of the 5 pm clean. The levels of microbiological contamination were then compared between the copper and standard surfaces.
The results showed the highest contamination was found in the patient bathrooms - particularly on the chrome-plated toilet flush lever handles and tap handles - and on the plastic light pulls and toilet seats.
Copper-containing items including door push plates, door pull handles, tap handles, toilet flush lever handles, patient over-bed tables, dressing trolleys, socket switches and light pull cord toggles were found to have significantly fewer microorganisms on their surfaces than the controls.
The researchers concluded that microbial load, including the presence of microorganisms responsible for healthcare-associated infections, was shown to be significantly reduced between cleans on the majority of copper surfaces, compared to standard surfaces.