Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 16:52 UK

Tests in Leicester show silver helps kill bacteria

Arbour residential home
The trial at the nursing home lasted five months

Products containing a silver antimicrobial agent helped kill bacteria at a Leicester nursing home, studies have shown.

A series of tests at Arbour residential home compared the amount of bacteria found in a treated room compared to a room that was not treated.

Microbiologists said they found an average reduction of 94% in bacteria in five months of testing.

Hospitals already use silver for wound dressings and in operating theatres.

The testing was carried out on light fixtures, call systems, curtains, furniture, sinks and beds in the two rooms.

Leicester City Council has trialled the use of the new technology with the cooperation of BioCote Ltd, which produces the silver coating, in a bid to reduce MRSA, E.coli and salmonella.

"Working alongside Leicester City Council, tests have shown that antimicrobial treated products are effective when used as part of infection prevention and control strategies, complementing cleaning to dramatically reduce the risks of cross-contamination," BioCote microbiologist Richard Hastings said.

Silver is already used in some household products because it is highly toxic to a wide range of bacteria.

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