World's-first copper keyboard helps battle hospital bugs

Published: 9-Aug-2012

Antimicrobial device found to reduce contamination in ICU rooms

When you think of your computer keyboard, you can probably picture the greasy keys and the crumbs from yesterday’s lunch.

In a healthcare environment, there is much more than just aesthetics to consider, with the serious implications this has for infection prevention and control.

Now there is a new tool on the market in the form of the world’s-first commercially-available antimicrobial copper keyboard, which kills bacteria and viruses that settle on its surface, including MRSA and Pseudomonas.

The device from Operator Interface Technology is waterproof, designed to enable regular thorough cleaning and decontamination and has bug-busting CuVerro copper keys and front plate.

A spokesman for the Copper Development Association (CDA), the UK trade body, said: “A three-centre clinical trial of antimicrobial copper components conducted in the United States and funded by the Department of Defense identified computer input devices as being among the most contaminated surfaces in an intensive care unit patient's vicinity.

“Along with other highly-contaminated surfaces, these were replaced with antimicrobial copper equivalents and contamination measured and compared with non-copper surfaces. The study found a median 97% reduction in contamination on the copper surfaces, and also revealed a greater than 40% reduction in a patient's risk of acquiring a hospital infection when staying in ICU rooms equipped with just six antimicrobial copper surfaces.”

In a recent survey of 220 infection control practitioners conducted by the CDA to assess the key touch surfaces to prioritise when implementing antimicrobial copper, almost 20% of respondents placed keyboards on their list of highest-risk surfaces for the spread of infection.

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