K-4121. Copper for Preventing Microbial Enviromental Contamination
Session: Poster Session: Nosocomial Infections and the Environment
Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 12:00 AM
Room: Hall C
Background: Transmission of infection involves various vehicles, including contaminated surfaces which have stimulated interest in antimicrobial materials. Copper has antimicrobial activity and it's application in the clinical setting has been explored. Activity of copper against a wide range of hospital pathogens was also determined. Methods: In vitro activity - Microorganisms were applied to copper and stainless steel and viability determined over 3 hours at room temperature following their recovery into a universal neutralising solution. Viability on the metal was also determined by direct observation using epifluorescence microscopy of propidium iodide/SYTO 9 stained cells. Clinical assessment - Copper products including push plates, taps and grab rails were installed on a 21 bedded medical ward. The bacterial contamination of the copper items was compared to equivalent non-copper items on a control ward. The surfaces were sampled by swabbing in a predetermined manner. The swabs were immediately transferred to neutralising broth, vortexed and inoculated onto blood agar. Results: In vitro activity - The viability of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumanii, Enterococcus spp. and Candida albicans was progressively reduced by at least 3 log 10 cycles over 3 hours on copper but not stainless steel surfaces.
Clinical assessment - The copper surfaces resulted in a marked reduction (overall 62%, P=0.01) in the mean number of microorganisms as compared to control surfaces. This antimicrobial activity was sustained for 6 months, the duration of the study to date. Conclusions: Copper surfaces exhibit a pronounced antimicrobial action upon a range of pathogens, reducing viability over 3 hours contact at room temperature. Antimicrobial activity was also evident over a period of several months in the clinical setting. Copper surfaces may therefore, be a valuable tool in preventing nosocomial infection.
Anna Casey, B.Sc, Ph.D, Lisa Miruszenko, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Peter Lambert, BSc, PhD, DSc, Aston University, Thomas Elliott, FRCPath, Ph.D, D.Sc and  A. L. Casey,
Copper Development Association Role(s): Grant Investigator, Received: Research Grant.