Development of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) are complex processes involving both host factors and exposure to nosocomial pathogens. Environmental contamination can serve as a reservoir for nosocomial pathogens that may be transmitted to patients through the hands of healthcare workers, patient care equipment, or direct contact. Efforts to decrease environmental bioburden are associated with reduced transmission of microbial pathogens and development of HAIs. Copper oxide has potent biocidal activity. Here we report the results of the first large scale trial of a copper oxide-impregnated composite product incorporated into hospital hard surface countertops, molded hard surfaces, patient gowns and linens.
We performed a quasi-experimental study with a control group, assessing development of healthcare-associated infections due to multidrug resistant organisms (MDROs) and C. difficile in the acute care units of a community hospital following the replacement of a 1970s-era clinical wing with a new tower outfitted with copper-impregnated composite hard surfaces (countertops, sinks, vanities, workstations, patient room desks, bed rails, and tray tables), bed and bath linens, and patient gowns.
The study was conducted over a 25.5-month time period that included a 3.5-month wash out period. HAI rates obtained from the copper-containing new tower (72 beds; 14,479 patient-days) and the unmodified hospital wing (84 beds; 19,177 patient-days) were compared to those from the baseline period (204 beds; 46,391 patient-days). The new tower had 78% (P=.023) fewer healthcare-associated infections due to MDROs or C. difficile, 83% (P=.048) fewer cases of C. difficile infection, and 68% (P=.252) fewer infections due to MDROs relative to the baseline period. No changes in rates of healthcare-associated infections were observed in the unmodified hospital wing.
Copper oxide-impregnated composite hard surfaces and linens may be useful technologies to prevent healthcare-associated infections in the acute care hospital setting. Additional studies are needed to determine whether reduced HAIs can be attributed to the use of copper-containing antimicrobial hard and soft surfaces.
C. D. Sifri,
G. Burke, None