We spend a good amount of time on this blog discussing the new uses of the biocidal properties of copper. We look to the past civilizations that used copper to kill bacteria without knowing the mechanisms behind it - the Ancient Egyptians who used copper in wounds, the Ancient Greeks who used it in plumbing, and the seafaring explorers who used it to store drinking water. But there is actually a far, far more ancient use of copper to combat infection: Our own innate immune system.
This Thanksgiving season we are grateful for the growing body of research into the biocidal activity of copper - in any form. Over the past two years, numerous studies have emerged from all over the world demonstrating the ability of copper to not only kill bacteria in the lab, but also in patient rooms. We are thankful for this research because it serves to solidify the scientific foundation upon which our mission is built: To lead with the science and let the data speak for itself. And also because it brings us closer to the ultimate goal of zero harm.
One of the tools available to infection preventionists, hospital epidemiologists and healthcare practitioners is the antibiogram. While not all facilities or networks will have an up-to-date version of this report, they are becoming more common. What is an antibiogram and how can it be used? In simple terms, an antibiogram is a report that shows how susceptible strains of pathogens are to a variety of antibiotics.
Anyone who reads about the recent fatal healthcare-associated infections in New Jersey shares in the nation's sorrow at the loss of children to a potentially preventable condition. No group, however, can truly understand the emerging details about these cases better than the national community of infection preventionists. These healthcare workers know what a complex and demanding job it is to keep patients safe from HAIs. But as more details emerge from both outbreaks, they serve to remind the nation that infection prevention is an essential component of any healthcare facility, requiring dedicated funding for staff and supplies.