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Copper kills MRSA

Dec 11, 2013, 12:12 PM

Study Proves Copper Kills the Superbug MRSA

Research shows Antimicrobial Copper metal surfaces are capable of killing potentially-deadly bacteria continuously

NEW YORK (October 4, 2013)-October marks World MRSA Awareness Month, a movement started by the MRSA Survivors Network to educate the public on how to prevent this harmful bacteria from causing infections in healthcare facilities and in the community. The leading cause of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in the United States, MRSA (also known as or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is responsible for more than 80,400 severe infections and nearly 11,300 deaths per year, according to a recent report by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, this potentially-deadly superbug has finally met its match: Antimicrobial Copper.

Antimicrobial Copper has been proven to stop MRSA before it starts, by killing the potentially-lethal bacteria within two hours of exposure. Just this year, a study published in the journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology proved that Intensive Care Unit rooms outfitted with copper touch surfaces reduced the number of infections by 58 percent, as compared to rooms with non-copper touch surfaces. Unlike stainless steel, additional research shows that copper effectively kills MRSA within just two hours of contact. But, how?

"Deadly bacteria pass along their genes to other bacteria-including the genes that make them resistant to antibiotics. This process is known as horizontal gene transfer," said Professor Bill Keevil, microbiological researcher and head of Environmental Research at the University of Southampton (UK), where the study was conducted. "This process is the main driver in the rise of superbugs. Antimicrobial Copper stops the transfer of these genes by killing the bacteria before the gene can spread-rupturing its membrane and binding to enzymes within its cells so the bacteria can no longer 'breathe', 'eat', 'digest' or 'create energy.'"

What makes Antimicrobial Copper unique is that it doesn't rely on human behavior in order to effectively kill bacteria. In 2012, research published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology demonstrated that copper surfaces in Intensive Care Units reduced bacteria by 83% on average* -without any healthcare worker behavioral changes or alterations to the existing cleaning protocols. Although MRSA is most commonly found in healthcare settings, this year alone there have also been several reported cases of MRSA in high school-, collegiate-, and professional-level sports locker rooms in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania and New York.  In fact, two professional football players from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-guard Carl Nicks and place-kicker Lawrence Tynes-have been sidelined indefinitely for the 2013-2014 season due to MRSA infections. Each player had to receive surgery as a result.

According to Jeanine Thomas, founder of MRSA Survivors Network, U.S. hospitals grossly under report the number of MRSA infections. Currently, the organization urges healthcare facilities in the Unites States to be more aggressive in their patient-screening and to implement a 'search and destroy' method further reduce such infections.

"Until now, the only attempts to reduce the incidence of this superbug in the environment have required hand hygiene, increased cleaning and, in the case of hospitals, patient screening," said Dr. Harold Michels, Senior Vice President of the Copper Development Association (CDA). "These strategies don't necessarily kill bacteria the way copper alloy surfaces do. Copper is the game-changer."

The global theme for World MRSA Awareness Month is 'The MRSA Epidemic - A Call to Action.' The MRSA Survivors Network kicked off awareness month at its 5th Annual World MRSA Day Kickoff event and Global C. diff Summit on September 28 in Chicago.

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