Approximately seven million people worldwide acquire a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) each year, and of the four million in Europe, around 37,000 die. In addition to the immeasurable personal toll, they cost over $80 billion globally, according to the World Health Organisation.
Microbes that thrive on objects we touch every day cause these infections. Despite aggressive hand washing campaigns and routine cleaning, infection rates remain unacceptably high and more needs to be done. Antibiotic-resistant organisms have spread from the healthcare environment to schools, homes and public transportation. In addition, antimicrobial resistance – the theme of World Health Day 2011 – and its global spread, threatens the continued effectiveness of many medicines used today to treat infectious diseases.
On Monday 4 April at 14:00 BST, Professor Bill Keevil, microbiological researcher and Director of the Environmental Healthcare Unit at the University of Southampton, will lead a live experiment, which will show the effectiveness of antimicrobial copper, scientifically proven to be the most effective touch surface material, in preventing the transmission of significant pathogens such as MRSA.
You can watch the experiment live at www.antimicrobialtouchsurface.com, where viewers will be able to see microbes dying on copper and interact via web chat with copper experts, including Professor Keevil.
To find out more about the webcast, view the event trailer at: http://www.antimicrobialtouchsurface.com/
Notes for editors
Laboratory tests by Professor Keevil have established that the natural antimicrobial properties of copper and copper alloys dramatically reduce the presence of MRSA compared with stainless steel, the most commonly used surface-metal in health institutions. The MRSA bacteria (staphylococci) on stainless steel remained fully active for days. On brass (an alloy of copper and zinc) they died in less than five hours and on pure copper the superbugs were eliminated in 30 minutes.