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Will Copper Keep Us Safe from the Superbugs?

Three papers scheduled for publication in the January issue of the Journal of Hospital Infection suggest that copper might have a role in the fight against healthcare-associated infections.

In a busy Birmingham teaching hospital, researchers swapped a conventional toilet seat, tap-handles and a ward door push-plate for similar items made from 70% copper. They compared the number of microbes on the copper surfaces against the number of bacteria on the same items from another ward and found that the copper surfaces had 90-100% fewer live bacteria than the non-copper surfaces.

Similar findings were reported from a primary healthcare facility in the Western Cape, South Africa. Researchers there found 71% fewer microbes on frequently touched surfaces overlaid with copper sheets (a desk, trolley, cupboard and window sill) compared with corresponding items made with conventional materials.
 
 

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