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Anales de la Facultad de Medicina

Print version ISSN 1025-5583


NECIOSUP, Edwin et al. Antimicrobial copper against nosocomial pathogens in Peru. An. Fac. med. [online]. 2015, vol.76, n.1, pp.9-14. ISSN 1025-5583.

Introduction: Nosocomial infections (NI) generate large expenditures by governments, as NI pathogens are resistant to drugs and increase hospital stay. Copper surfaces seem a promising alternative to control growth and spread of these pathogens. Objectives: To evaluate copper surfaces bactericidal activity against pathogenic bacteria causing NI (E. coli, P. aeruginosa and S. aureus). Design: Experimental study with non-probability sampling. Institutions: Hospital Regional Docente las Mercedes (HRDLM) and Hospital Provincial Docente Belen (HPDB), Lambayeque, Peru. Materials: Nine bacterial strains of E. coli, P. aeruginosa and S. aureus, metal surfaces (1 cm2) of copper and stainless steel (control). Interventions: Bacterial strains were provided by HRDLM (4 strains) and HPDB (5 strains). ANOVA and Tukey analysis were applied to evaluate copper and stainless steel surfaces’ bactericidal activity to strains causing NI; Minitab statistical software and Sigmaplot were used. Main outcome measures: Differences in bacterial growth on metal surfaces (copper or stainless steel) with respect to exposure time. Results: The nine strains of P. aeruginosa (3), E. coli (3) and S. aureus (3) exposed to copper surfaces were inactivated after 10, 15, and 60 minutes respectively. The bacterial load of cells exposed to stainless steel surfaces remained constant and viable for periods longer than 60 minutes. Copper surfaces removed Gram-negative bacteria (E. coli and P. aeruginosa) faster than Gram-positive bacteria (S. aureus). Conclusions: Copper surfaces completely eliminated studied nosocomial bacteria. Thus they could replace steel as contact surfaces in Peruvian health facilities with high incidence of NI.

Keywords : Bactericide copper; copper surfaces; nosocomial infections.

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