The recognized antimicrobial efficacy of copper has resulted in an increased interest for its use to protect touch surfaces against infectious microbes in healthcare facilities and public places. In fact, any touch surface can be upgraded with antimicrobial copper alloys, helping to protect public health and improve hygiene.
Medical and Healthcare
According to a study published in the American Medical Association Journal, 51% of patients in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in 75 countries have Healthcare Associated Infections, which doubles their death risk compared to other patients. It is alarming that 80% of HCAIs are transferred by touch, since surfaces in ICUs are heavily contaminated and frequently touched by patients, families, healthcare and other hospital personnel. Complementary to the implementation of strict infection control measures, including hand-washing and frequent surface disinfection, Antimicrobial Copper touch surfaces can offer an extra line of defence against infections by killing the microbes exactly where they lie, in order to reduce the risk of picking up infections from contaminated surfaces. Copper can be applied on door and window handles, handrails, headboards, food trays and medical equipment.
Schools and Public Buildings
Due to crowded circumstances, a multitude of contaminated surfaces and frequent lack of cleanliness, educational and public premises provide ideal conditions for the spreading of antibiotic-resistant infectious microbes (e.g. E.Coli O157, influenza) that can survive for days, even months, since no disinfectant or silver-containing coating can continuously kill them. According to the UK Health Protection Agency, childhood infections in schools and nurseries usually spread through children’ hands touching tabletops, taps, toilet seats and handles. With high profile deadly outbreaks alarmingly increasing around the globe, Antimicrobial Copper touch surfaces can help fight infections caused by pathogenic microbes in schools and public buildings.
Mass transit touch surfaces are optimal reservoirs for infectious microbes, due to the lack of space and crowded conditions. Therefore, community infection outbreaks can be amplified by public transportation rapid transfer. In addition to the impact on public health, contaminated mass transit surfaces may affect productivity and absence rates at work, due to high employee illness rates and therefore lead to decreased passenger numbers in public transport. Antimicrobial Copper grab rails and other touch surfaces can protect commuters from the harmful organisms surviving on stainless steel surfaces of typical subway and bus grab rails for months.
Food and Hospitality
Touch surfaces in food and hospitality premises can harbour infectious pathogens responsible for food poisoning, such as campylobacter, E.coli O157 and Listeria monocytogenes, which are linked to the greatest number of food-borne illness cases in temperate countries every year, with a relatively high risk of hospitalization and death. Given that bacteria can multiply to several millions within eight hours, Antimicrobial Copper can be deployed in suitable areas, such as dry food preparation counters, door handles and sink hardware to kill deadly bacteria. The use of copper helps create a hygienic environment by eliminating dangerous bacteria within two hours of exposure and reducing cross-contamination in food premises.
Health clubs, sports facilities and sports equipment are used by large numbers of people on a regular basis and are typically characterized by hot and humid conditions, which are ideal for bacterial growth. With staphylococcus aureus infections being on the rise in sports facilities and a 20 %-30% of the population unknowingly carrying it, it is clear that good hygiene and surface disinfection in sports facilities are not enough to prevent infections. The application of effective antimicrobial copper touch surfaces can significantly help fight infectious organisms in sports equipment and facilities on an ongoing basis, as a supplement to standard cleaning procedures.
More information is available at www.copperalloystewardship.com.