Elevator buttons as unrecognized sources of bacterial colonization in hospitals
A study published in 2014 by the University of Toronto, analysed lift buttons and toilet washroom surfaces at 3 large urban teaching hospitals located in Toronto, Ontario.
Unsurprisingly (because lift buttons are constantly used and seldom cleaned), the lift buttons had more contamination than the toilet washroom surfaces.
Read that paper here: http://www.openmedicine.ca/article/view/634/554
In a different study, it was found that a single contaminated doorknob or elevator button can spread virus rapidly through entire office buildings, hotels or hospitals.
Using bacteriophage MS-2 as a surrogate for Norovirus, Charles Gerba and his fellow researchers found that contamination of just one single doorknob or table top results in the spread of viruses throughout office buildings, hotels, and health care facilities. Within 2 to 4 hours, the virus could be detected on 40 to 60 percent of workers and visitors in the facilities and commonly touched objects.
Gerba, C. et al. 2014. University of Arizona, Tucson, presented at ASM’s 54th ICAAC, (Sept 2014) Washington DC www.icaac.org/index.php/scientific-activities/asm-live-at-icaac/asm-live-archives/328-icaac-2014-how-quickly-viruses-cancontaminate-a-building
This news article (Daily Mail, 2015) highlights research by the Centre for Superbug Solutions at the University of Queensland comparing bacterial contamination of typical office items.
Interestingly, swabs taken from the outside elevator button showed less bacteria than the buttons inside the elevator.
“Some of the germiest surfaces were a mobile phone screen, a computer keyboard and a kitchen bench, while door handles, desks and chairs were much cleaner,” Dr Elliott said.
Copper / copper-alloy materials are very effective, especially under typical indoor conditions, at killing pathogens quickly and completely.
Bacteria (gram +ve or gram -ve), viruses, yeasts and fungi (including spores) are proven to die rapidly on copper / copper-alloy materials, with destruction of DNA (including plasmids) evident within seconds of contact on these metals.
No other material, such as silver-containing coatings, comes close to copper’s antimicrobial efficacy: http://www.antimicrobialcopper.org/uk/antimicrobial-efficacy
*image: Antimicrobial Copper elevator button made by Dewhurst plc using KME Plus® warm silver alloy.