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MUSC Annual Report 2011-2012

Enhancing Patient Safety Through Copper Surfaces

Copper has been used by humans for millennia, first as tools and then as a tool to fight the spread of infectious agents.  Through a multi-site study led by Dr. Michael G. Schmidt, Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Medicine, MUSC and two other hospitals learned that by placing a limited number of copper objects in intensive care units, there was a significant reduction in the concentration of bacteria on critically touched items.  This reduction in bacteria likely stopped the transmission of microbes from the surface to patient, translating into a double digit drop in the rate with which hospital associated infections were contracted.

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