Erica Mitchell

Recent Posts

Effective R: The R We Can Affect

by Erica Mitchell | December 7 2020

In population science, R stands for how much a population is reproducing. If R is greater than 1, it's growing. If it is 1, it's stable. If it's below 1, it will eventually die out. This applies to populations of people and other living things but it is also a useful model in epidemiology, to track the spread of a disease. The basic reproductive number R0, or "r-naught", for an infectious disease is an average of how many people one infected individual can infect over the course of the disease. But thanks to human interventions, the reproduction of a disease is not set in stone. There is a reproductive number that demonstrates what we, the population, can do to bring that R0 down. This is the effective R, or Re, the number of people who can be infected at one time, in a given situation. In today's post, we'll look closer at this value and what it tells us as we enter the second wave of COVID-19.

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Copper: An Ancient Remedy That Actually Works

by Erica Mitchell | December 2 2020

This post is intended to provide historical background for some of today's medical treatments. It is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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Thankful For: Copper Research

by Erica Mitchell | November 25 2020

This Thanksgiving season we are grateful for the growing body of research into the biocidal activity of copper - in any form. Over the past decade, 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. Here at EOS Surfaces, 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.

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Thankful For: Frontline Workers

by Erica Mitchell | November 22 2020

Perhaps nothing brought our world together in a more joyful way than hearing cities across the planet shout, bang pots and pans, and honk horns to support frontline healthcare workers during shift changes. In one voice, we were able to tell healthcare workers who were sacrificing so much (and taking on so much risk) that we appreciated them and were thankful for their tireless work. As Thanksgiving approaches during a year of so much loss, we can also express our gratitude by staying home and following CDC guidelines to not travel and comingle during the holidays, thereby preventing a spike in COVID cases. As we make the right choice to stay home and help protect our loved ones, let's take a moment to be thankful for all our frontline workers, those in healthcare as well as those in so many other essential jobs that help keep our nation moving.

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Just how does copper kill germs?

by Erica Mitchell | November 18 2020


As COVID-19 and other infectious pathogens make headlines, our attention is drawn to the technologies being developed to fight these germs. Bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms threaten human lives. We want to know what kills them, and we want it now!

Interestingly, plain copper, the stuff of pennies and the Statue of Liberty, has powerful antimicrobial properties. In fact, copper was used by ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and others to carry and store water, line pipes and barrels, and on boats because they could tell by observation that items with copper had the ability to keep water free from spoilage and wood free from parasites.

What the ancients could observe, science can now explain.

How does copper kill bacteria? It is not through some kind of new age or magical properties - just plain old rust. Copper kills bacteria through 5 main pathways, also called, "kill mechanisms." (Doesn't that just sound so much better?)

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You'll Never Look At A Bedrail The Same Way Again.

by Erica Mitchell | November 11 2020

Imagine you are a physician doing rounds in a hospital. You and a colleague walk into the room of a patient infected with MRSA. You are careful to wear gloves, and avoid touching the patient, but instead check his medical devices and other equipment. Alongside you, your colleague performs a routine exam of the patient himself, touching various parts of his body as needed. After the visit, you and your colleague remove your gloves and each pair is tested for contamination by MRSA. Whose gloves are the most contaminated? The answer may surprise you.

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Hospital Surfaces: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

by Erica Mitchell | November 4 2020

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities face a difficult quandary when it comes to selecting environmental surfaces to accommodate patients, guests and staff: How do we make a beautiful space while considering healingsafety, cost, and durability of materials? Just as in other institutional settings, hospital construction must balance the need for safety and durability with aesthetics and cost and all products can become subject to value engineering. The Facility Guidelines Institute, a non-profit agency, maintains current guidelines for the design and construction of hospitals and healthcare facilities. There are an array of choices for each and every surface in a hospitals, each with its own costs and benefits. Today we'll explore what those hard surface material choices are and, with infection control a priority for all healthcare facilities, how hospitable they are to bacteria.

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The Future of Nursing Homes: The Impact of COVID-19 and Beyond

by Erica Mitchell | November 2 2020

Two important news articles this week took a long look at nursing homes. One examined the deadly impact of the pandemic on vulnerable nursing home populations and their staff, while the other revealed weaknesses in regulation and enforcement meant to protect their elderly residents. In today's post, we'll discuss what the future might hold for nursing homes as they try to keep their businesses - and residents - alive during and after a global pandemic.

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The Horrors of Biofilms: Like Jason, They Keep Coming Back

by Erica Mitchell | October 28 2020

We experience the ickiness and inconvenience of biofilms every day. From slow drains to tooth plaque, biofilms surround us because bacteria surround us. But take our everyday annoyance with biofilms such as a gunky sink pipe or teeth that need to be brushed twice daily and multiply that exponentially and you begin to have an idea of the horror biofilms present to industries and healthcare planet-wide. Today we'll explore the tenacious, intractable, just-as-likely-to-return-as-Jason nature of bacteria's number one weapon: biofilms.

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Attack of the Killer Slime: It's not a B-Movie, It's a Biofilm

by Erica Mitchell | October 21 2020

In last week's post, we examined the three things required for bacteria to form a biofilm: Moisture, nutrients, and a surface. Once these biofilms become established, they begin to act in very creepy ways. Today we'll look at some of the characteristics of biofilms that are the stuff of nightmares. Don't say we didn't warn you.

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© EOS Surfaces and EOScu Blog, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to EOS Surfaces and EOScu Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.