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Kalamazoo: Offering solutions to help eradicate superbugs

Kalamazoo: Offering solutions to help eradicate superbugs


With bacteriological diseases such as SARS and MRSA on the increase and with concern about these diseases at an all time high, the medical community is under tremendous pressure to implement measures in order to minimise the risk of potential outbreaks.
Last Updated: 27-Aug-2010

With bacteriological diseases such as SARS and MRSA on the increase and with concern about these diseases at an all time high, the medical community is under tremendous pressure to implement measures in order to minimise the risk of potential outbreaks.

Recent official reports suggest that MRSA can be found in 40 per cent of UK hospitals . Transmission occurs through coming into contact with an object carrying the bacteria or via direct skin-to-skin exposure.  Hospitals therefore have an up-hill struggle to eradicate superbugs. 

Implementing stringent housekeeping policies such as insisting medical staff change gloves or use antibacterial hand washes before and after touching patients as well as the thorough cleaning of hospital wards is helping stem infection rates. But with other sources of potential contamination constantly present on hospital wards how else can hospitals stave off potential outbreaks?

Hospital acquired infections cost the NHS an estimated £1billion a year, infecting 100,000 patients and proving fatal for about 5,000. Rates of infection within the UK are the second highest in Europe and the problem is rising year on year.

Cross-contamination remains one of the main methods of spreading the bacteria. It not only occurs through healthcare professional-to-patient contact, diseases can also be picked up almost anywhere in hospitals and can even be caught by touching a door handle when going to the bathroom. Previous studies suggest that bacteria can survive on a dry surface for a matter of hours, but new research published in the Journal of Hospital Infection suggests that the bug can remain viable for over a year.

Kalamazoo Security Print, which has the majority of UK NHS trusts as its customers, can offer a solution to help limit potential incidents of cross contamination by using a brand new technology which kills microbes on contact.

Kalamazoo Security Print’s Product & Development Manager, Maureen Bott says “We are now able to integrate an additive into our products used within the health care industry which helps break the transmission paths of the disease, killing microbes on contact.

“After being independently tested and verified by the Medical Institute for Microbiology at the University of Milan, the Virology Institute at the University of Catania, the SIK Institute in Gothenburg and LawLabs in Birmingham, clinical research showed that 99.9 per cent of bacteria are killed within 24 hours. The additive has also been approved and listed with the EPA, FDA and the EU biocide Directive.”

This additive has great potential and gives numerous materials such as moulding compounds, thermoplastics, laminates and paints an immediate antibacterial effect. Once microbes come into contact with any product containing the additive they are instantly killed, therefore providing permanent hygienic solution active 24-hours a day throughout the lifetime of the product. Safe to use in any hospital or health care facility, the additive has no side effects and is non-toxic. Although certain bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics the additive used by Kalamazoo does not cause bacterial mutation.

The additive is based on silver ions, which has been recognised by clinicians for over 100 years for its antimicrobial activity, helping to ensure the long term antibacterial effects. The additive has been designed in such a way that it is homogenously distributed throughout the product once it is added during the manufacturing process. The silver ions then kill all the bacteria on the surface by penetrating the cell membrane.

Maureen Bott continues “Cross-contamination is one of the greatest transmitters of superbugs. Doctors and nurses today are very fastidious about hygiene, but situations can arise where patient records are completed carrying MRSA or other similar superbugs to the next healthcare professional reading the notes. It is therefore imperative that as well as having rigorous hygiene practices, the equipment used within hospitals is also resistant to these microbes.”

Kalamazoo will use this additive in the production of the moulded plastic units that are attached to patient’s beds. and desktop filing systems currently in use at nursing stations, which hold the patient details and records that could have been contaminated.
Kalamazoo is also working with a number of paper manufacturers to have the bacteria killing additive added during the manufacturing process. This will help to reduce the transmission of these superbugs when handling their patient records.

Superbugs including MRSA pose a growing challenge in the health care sector and staff charged with combating this increasing problem need a whole armoury of defences to assist them in combating the spread of MRSA and other easily transmitted diseases.

Although, hospital procedures are being implemented to counter the spread of superbugs, Kalamazoo is offering yet another tool that helps stop the spread of these dangerous diseases at a source where cross-contamination commonly occurs.