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Resolution of Skin Maladies of the Trapped Chilean Miners: The Unplanned Underground Copper-Impregnated Antifungal Socks “Trial ”

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Correspondence: Dr Borkow, Hameyasdim 44, Gibton 76910, Israel ( Disclosure: Dr Borkow is employed by Cupron Inc. Cupron owns the patents for the technology used to impregnate polymeric materials with copper oxide. The socks were donated to the trapped miners by Cupron's agent in Chile.1 +Borkow G, Gabbay J.Copper as a biocidal tool. Curr Med Chem. 2005;12(18):2163-2175PubMed | Link to Article[[XSLOpenURL/10.2174/0929867054637617]]2 +Borkow G, Gabbay J.Putting copper into action: copper-impregnated products with potent biocidal activities. FASEB J. 2004;18(14):1728-1730PubMed3 +Zatcoff RC, Smith MS, Borkow G.Treatment of tinea pedis with socks containing copper-oxide impregnated fibers. Foot (Edinb). 2008;18(3):136-141PubMed4 +Havlickova B, Czaika VA, Friedrich M.Epidemiological trends in skin mycoses worldwide. Mycoses. 2008;51:(Suppl 4) 2-15PubMed | Link to Article[[XSLOpenURL/10.1111/myc.2008.51.issue-s4]]5 +Seebacher C, Bouchara JP, Mignon B.Updates on the epidemiology of dermatophyte infections. Mycopathologia. 2008;166(5-6):335-352PubMed | Link to Article[[XSLOpenURL/10.1007/s11046-008-9100-9]]
1. Vera-Ke llet C, Peters L, Elwood K, Dutz JP. Usefulness of Interferon - re-
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147 (8):949-952.
2. Milstone LM, Waksman B H. Re lease of vir us inhi bitor from t uberculin -
sensitiz ed peritoneal cells stimula ted by ant igen. J Immun ol. 1970;105(5):
3. Mazurek GH, Jereb J, Vernon A, LoBue P, Goldberg S, Castro K; IGRA Ex -
pert Committee; Ce nters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Updated guidelines for using interferon gamma re lease assays to detect My-
cobacterium tuberculosis infectionUnited States, 2010. MMWR Recomm Rep.
Resolution of Skin Maladies
of the Trapped Chilean Miners:
The Unplanned Underground
Copper-Impregnated Antifungal
Socks “Trial”
Report of a Case. In August 2010, a collapse occurred
in a mine in Chile, trapping 33 miners about 700 m be-
low ground. The miners were discovered 17 days later
via a drilled borehole. The underground conditions were
very harsh, with high temperatures (
34°C) and high
humidity (approximately 85%). Within 2 weeks, most
miners were experiencing skin problems, mostly in their
feet. An antifungal cream, clotrimazole, was delivered to
the miners through the borehole, but their skin mala-
dies did not improve.
Thirty-six days after being trapped, each miner re-
ceived 3 pairs of socks containing copper oxide par-
ticles. The potent antifungal and antimicrobial proper-
ties of copper are very well documented.
When the
polyester yarn component of socks is permanently im-
pregnated with copper oxide particles , the socks
are imbued with copper’s potent biocidal properties2 and
have been shown to successfully treat fungal infections.3
When rescued, after being 69 days underground, 3
miners had tinea pedis; 7 had plantar xerosis; 2 had pity-
riasis versicolor; 3 had dyshidrotic eczema; and 1 had ony-
chomycosis. Overall, their skin condition, especially on
their feet (Figure 1), was extremely good despite 69 days
of exposure to an environment that promoted the growth
of skin-damaging microbes. The miners reported that a
significant improvement in their skin diseases had oc -
curred while they were still underground after they be-
gan to use the socks.
To understand the effect of the Cupron socks (Cu-
pron Inc), a questionnaire was completed by 19 miners,
most of whom had experienced significant discomfort,
skin irritation, dry skin, and/or skin scaling in their feet
Figure 2
) after they were trapped underground.
These are all characteristics of fungal infections but
may be a component of irritant dermatitis. Remarkably,
after beginning to use the socks while still under-
ground, the miners reported that these skin maladies
disappeared, in most cases within 4 to 7 days. Based on
the severity scores given by the miners, there was a sta-
tistically significant reduction (P .001) in these para-
meters and in the general discomfort they felt after
using the socks (Figure 2B). Almost all miners reported
that they had also experienced a bad smell from their
feet, which also disappeared a few days after they began
to use the socks.
While this was not a planned experiment,
and no diagnosis was conducted prior to treatment, the
relief of the foot skin maladies experienced by the min-
ers while they were trapped underground in conditions
Figure 1.
Representative pictures of the feet of 2 miners 1 day after they were rescued from the mine.
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©2012 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.
Don’t know
Discomf ort
Dry skin
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11
Miners, No.
Dry skin
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11
Miners, No.
12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Miners, No.
Before using the sock s
After using the socks
Figure 2.
Miners’ self-reported scores of whether (A) and to what degree (B) they experienced indicated skin conditions before and after they received the copper
oxide-containing socks. 0 Indicates absent condition; 10, most severe condition. Rank sum t tests were conducted to compare between scores for the various
attributes before and after using the socks.
very favorable for fungal and bacterial growth is prob-
ably the best clinical trial possible to demonstrate the
high efficacy of Cupron socks in treating foot skin in-
fections. Socks are universally used. The copper oxide-
containing socks feel exactly like any regular sock.
Thus, using such a simple, widely used “device” may be
extremely useful in protecting the feet of about 20% of
the world’s population who experience athlete’s foot,4
and miners in particular, who have high rates of ath-
lete’s foot infections (80%-90%).5 Many other individu-
als who are regularly exposed to very harsh conditions
might also benefit, including policeman, sailors, and
Gadi Borkow, PhD
Juan Carlos Mellibovsky, MD
Author Affiliations:
Cupron Inc, Modi’in, Israel (Dr
Borkow); Department of Dermatology, Regional Hospi-
tal of Copiapo, Atacama, Chile (Dr Mellibovsky).
Downloaded from on January 17, 2012
©2012 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.
Correspondence: Dr Borkow, Hameyasdim 44, Gibton
76910, Israel (
Financial Disclosure: Dr Borkow is employed by Cu-
pron Inc. Cupron owns the patents for the technology
used to impregnate polymeric materials with copper ox-
ide. The socks were donated to the trapped miners by
Cuprons agent in Chile.
1. Borkow G, Gabbay J. Copper as a biocidal tool. Curr Med Chem. 2005;12(18):
2. Borkow G, Gabbay J. Putting copper into action: copper-impregnated prod-
ucts with potent biocidal activities. FASEB J. 2004;18(14):1728-1730.
3. Zatcoff RC, Smith MS, Borkow G. Treatment of tinea pedis with socks con-
taining copper-oxide impregnated fibers. Foot (Edinb). 2008;18(3):136-141.
4. Havlickova B, Czaika VA, Friedrich M. Epidemiological trends in skin my-
coses worldwide. Mycoses. 2008;51(Suppl 4):2-15.
5. Seebacher C, Bouchara JP, Mignon B. Updates on the epidemiology of der-
matophyte infections. Mycopathologia. 2008;166(5-6):335-352.
An Acrochordon-Like
Melanoma Metastasis
crochordons are generally assumed to be benign
and might not be submitted for pathologic analy-
reported receiving therapeutic excision with primary
closure of the left arm and left back sites. Her skin con-
dition remained within normal limits until December
2009, when she developed multiple-pinpoint blue-
brown blood blister lesions on her trunk and extremi-
ties, which grew in diameter and number over the fol-
lowing 6 months. At this time a skin tag -like lesion of
the right hip and blue subcutaneous nodules of the bi-
lateral breasts were biopsied, revealing metastatic
At presentation in 2010, the patient pointed out a new
lesion of her anterior left axillary vault, which she be-
lieved was similar to the initial appearance of the right
hip metastasis. The area of concern was a hyperpig-
mented 2-mm soft, pedunculated papule without sur-
rounding macular erythema or pigmentation that clini-
cally appeared consistent with a benign acrochordon
Figure 1
, inset). Dermoscopy revealed a mobile, sac-
cular lesion with globular architecture without discern-
ible vascularity (Figure 1).
Reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) examina-
tion of the epidermis revealed a slightly broadened hon-
sis. One study of 1335 clinically diagnosed acro-
eycomb pattern without ulceration or pagetoid cells.
chordons found only 5 malignant tumors.1 Both squa-
mous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma have been
reported in acrochordon-like lesions.1,2 We report herein a
case of acrochordon-like melanoma metastasis.
Video available online at
Report of a Case. A 77-year-old white woman was di-
agnosed as having a melanoma in 1986. Although these
medical records were unavailable for review, she self-
Figure 1.
Clinical (inset) and dermoscopic images. Clinical image shows the
hyperpigmented pedunculated metastatic melanoma lesion of the axillary vault
to be similar in appearance to a pigmented acrochordon. Dermoscopic image
of the pigmented saccular lesion without obvious vasculature (Canon Rebel
SXi camera; 3Gen DermLite FOTO Dermatoscope with 30 -mm polarized lens)
(original magnification 8).
The dermoepidermal junction and superficial dermis
revealed rare, bright dendritic processes and extensive
dense and sparse dermal nests with many large refrac-
tile atypical-bizarre cells consistent with melanocytes.
Multiple horizontally oriented and convoluted vessels
were also noted in close proximity to the tumor nests,
consistent with the previously described vascular-tu-
mor interface phenomenon3 (Figure 2A and B) (a video
is available at
Histopathologic review demonstrated a well -
circumscribed pedunculated lesion with overlying epi-
dermal thinning and effacement of the rete. No ulcer-
ation or melanocytic proliferation was noted in the
epidermis. Multiple discohesive nests of severely atypical
melanocytes were noted in the papillary dermis with closely
interposed vessels. The overall picture was consistent with
metastatic malignant melanoma (Figure 2C and D).
A positron emission tomography (PET) computed to-
mography scan demonstrated multiple PET-avid areas;
fine needle aspiration confirmed the presence of meta-
static melanoma in the left axillary lymph node. The pa-
tient started oral temozolomide therapy and was subse-
quently lost to follow-up.
While it is widely believed that acrochor-
dons are unlikely to be clinically significant and that they
may be discarded instead of submitted for pathologic re-
view, cutaneous malignancy may present as an acrochor-
don mimicker or arise within an existing acrochordon.
Patients with Gorlin syndrome (basal cell nevus) may de-
velop acrochordon-like basal cell carcinomas at a fairly
young age; invasive squamous cell carcinoma has been
reported to develop within an acrochordon; and there is
1 case report of melanoma presenting as an infarcted ac-
rochordon-like lesion.4,5 While the medical history of the
present patient prompted removal of the lesion in ques-
tion, RCM revealed a concerning architecture that con-
trasted with the lesions benign clinical features. Reflec-
tance confocal microscopy may provide additional
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©2012 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.
... The temperature was much higher (30-34 • C with 85-95% humidity), light was available, and communication with the trapped miners was established on Day 17 by a drill hole, with the ability to provide supplies and medical support. 50,56,57 The miners developed fungal foot infections with irritation and scaling. 57 No orthopedic, ocular, cold-related, or neurologic conditions were reported. ...
... 50,56,57 The miners developed fungal foot infections with irritation and scaling. 57 No orthopedic, ocular, cold-related, or neurologic conditions were reported. ...
... Medical conditions can include trauma, malnutrition, poor hygiene, infections, ocular and neurologic impairments, and cold-related injuries. 1,2,53,57 A multidisciplinary approach is essential, including establishing lines of communication; protection from environmental conditions; restoration of personal hygiene, including oral and dental hygiene; securing food and water supplies; monitoring refeeding; and treatment of other medical conditions. ...
In 1755 in Bergemoletto, Italy, an avalanche buried 4 people (2 women, a girl, and a boy) and several animals in a stable. After 37 d in a pitch-dark confined space, 3 of the 4 people were rescued alive. The 3 survivors had only goat milk, a few chestnuts, a few kg of raw kid meat, and meltwater for nutrition. We describe the longest-known survival in an avalanche burial and discuss the medical and psychological problems of the survivors. The boy died. When they were extricated, all 3 survivors were exhausted, cachectic, and unable to stand or walk. They were severely malnourished and were experiencing tingling, tremors, and weakness in the legs; constipation; changes in taste; and amenorrhea. One of the women had persistent eye problems and developed symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder. The survivors were given slow refeeding. It took from 1 to 6 wk before they could walk. We compare this case to other long-duration burials, especially mining accidents, and describe the rescue and patient care after long-duration burials. This case demonstrates that people can overcome extremely adverse conditions and survive.
... These results were then confirmed in a study using photographs taken in the previous study and quantitatively measuring them with a computer program (109). An unplanned study was carried out in 2010 when 33 miners were trapped for 69 days in a mine in Chile (110). The miners suffered from severe fungal skin problems, mainly of their feet. ...
... The safety of copper-impregnated textiles is studied through extensive animal studies, which all demonstrate no skin irritation or sensitization or any other adverse reaction to copper oxide-impregnated textiles (13,28,55,61). Subsequently, its safety in humans was demonstrated in various clinical trials (108,110,144,145,178). Contrary to microbes, human skin cells are able to metabolize and utilize copper, and consequently, the risk of adverse reactions is negligible (179). ...
Health care-associated infections (HAIs) are a global problem associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Controlling the spread of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria is a major public health challenge, and antimicrobial resistance has become one of the most important global problems in current times. The antimicrobial effect of copper has been known for centuries, and ongoing research is being conducted on the use of copper-coated hard and soft surfaces for reduction of microbial contamination and, subsequently, reduction of HAIs. This review provides an overview of the historical and current evidence of the antimicrobial and wound-healing properties of copper and explores its possible utility in obstetrics and gynecology.
... 46 By eliminating exposure to fungal reservoirs through sanitization while maintaining exposure to antifungal agents through prophylactic antifungal treatments, reinfection could be easily avoided. 47,48 Conclusions Because of the high prevalence, recurrence, and reinfection rates associated with fungal infections, the need for effective preventative strategies is apparent. 1-3 Among the preventative strategies available today, sanitization of footwear, socks, and textiles uniquely offers the ability to eliminate daily exposure to fungal reservoirs created by fungally infected individuals. ...
... This article has undergone peer review, copyediting, and author review but is not a final version and may differ from the published version. 12 Change socks daily Zinc oxide powder Bonar and Dreyer, 1932 18 Dry cleaning solvents Jamieson and McCrea, 1937 9 Hot iron Berberian, 1938 20 Formaldehyde Shirakawa, 1956Shirakawa, -1960 Bactericides and fungicides English et al, 1967 32 Laundering Broughton, 1955 6 Laundering Tanaka et al, 2006 16 Laundering with or without soap and sock position Borkow and Mellibovsky, 2012 48 Copper oxide Amichai et al, 2013 33 Laundering at 40°C or 60°C Amichai et al, 2014 22 Sun exposure 36 Laundering and sanitization measures a Jung et al, 2007 37 Silver ion laundry machine He et al, 2008 38 Silver and light irradiation laundry machine Borkow and Gabbay, 2008 29 Copper oxide Hammer et al, 2011 21 Laundering at 30°C or 60°C Hammer et al, 2012 28 Creation of antimicrobial textiles a Sanitation measures: hand hygiene, sanitation of working areas and technical equipment. ...
Because of the ubiquitous nature of dermatophytes and a lack of an adaptive immune response in the nail plate, recurrence and relapse rates associated with superficial fungal infections are high (10%-53%). Cured or improved dermatophytosis patients could become reinfected if exposed to fungal reservoirs, such as an infected shoe, sock, or textile. To prevent this, footwear, sock, and textile sanitization methods can be used. To provide insight into effective sanitization options, the focus of this article is to review footwear, sock, and textile sanitization studies conducted throughout history (1920-2016). Thirty-three studies are covered in this review, encompassing techniques ranging from formaldehyde fumigation and foot powder application, to more modern approaches such as UV light and silver-light irradiation technologies. Older sanitization methods (eg, boiling, use of chlorine and salts) are quite limited in their practicality, as they can result in health complications and ruin shoe integrity. Newer approaches to shoe and sock sanitization, such as ozone application and UV irradiation, have shown very promising results. Further research is still needed with these modern techniques, as knowledge gaps and cost prevent the creation of standardized parameters for successful use. By combining sanitization methods with other preventative measures, protection against reinfection may be enhanced.
... Ponadto stosowanie miedzi jako biocydu stało się niezbędne i jest często stosowane w farbach przeciwporostowych, do konserwacji drewna, do zwalczania zielonych alg w jeziorach, na polach ryżowych, w kanałach, rzekach i basenach oraz w celu zapobiegania chorobie grzybiczej winogron (mączniak rzekomy) (Ryc. 1) [23,24,45,65,74]. Badania przeprowadzone na zwierzętach wykazały, iż tekstylia impregnowane miedzią są bezpieczne i nie powodują podrażnienia skóry, uczulenia ani żadnej innej niepożądanej reakcji [16,[18][19][20]82]. Wiele badań klinicznych potwierdza tę tezę również w przypadku ludzi [37,43,47,58]. ...
Full-text available
Miedź od wieków była używana do eradykacji zakażeń bakteryjnych. Pierwiastek ten ma nie tylko działanie bakteriobójcze, ale również przyśpiesza proces angiogenezy i epitelizacji. W niniejszej pracy omówiono rolę miedzi w procesie gojenia ran. For centuries copper has been used to fight bacterial infections. This element not only has a bactericidal effect, but it also accelerates the process of angiogenesis and epithelization. In the presented paper, the role of copper in the wound healing process has been discussed.
... Therefore, copper intake from cosmetics is negligible relative to dietary intake. 3) Use of copper in textiles has been reviewed with focus on the beneficial effects as a biocidal, with no data on its systemic availability from this application (Borkow and Gabbay, 2005;Borkow et al., 2009;Borkow et al., 2010a;Borkow et al., 2010b;Borkow and Mellibovsky, 2012;Borkow, 2014;Borkow et al., 2021). In other studies, content of copper in the fabric has been reported (Rovira et al., 2015;Nguyen and Saleh, 2017;Rovira et al., 2017a;Rovira et al., 2017b;Herrero et al., 2019;Rovira and Domingo, 2019;Herrero et al., 2020). ...
Full-text available
Copper is an essential micronutrient and also a regulated product used in organic and in conventional farming pest management. Both deficiency and excessive exposure to copper can have adverse health effects. In this Scientific Opinion, the EFSA 2021 harmonised approach for establishing health-based guidance values (HBGVs) for substances that are regulated products and also nutrients was used to resolve the divergent existing HBGVs for copper. The tightly regulated homeostasis prevents toxicity manifestation in the short term, but the development of chronic copper toxicity is dependent on copper homeostasis and its tissue retention. Evidence from Wilson disease suggests that hepatic retention is indicative of potential future and possibly sudden onset of copper toxicity under conditions of continuous intake. Hence, emphasis was placed on copper retention as an early marker of potential adverse effects. The relationships between (a) chronic copper exposure and its retention in the body, particularly the liver, and (b) hepatic copper concentrations and evidence of toxicity were examined. The Scientific Committee (SC) concludes that no retention of copper is expected to occur with intake of 5 mg/day and established an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 0.07 mg/kg bw. A refined dietary exposure assessment was performed, assessing contribution from dietary and non-dietary sources. Background copper levels are a significant source of copper. The contribution of copper from its use as plant protection product (PPP), food and feed additives or fertilisers is negligible. The use of copper in fertilisers or PPPs contributes to copper accumulation in soil. Infant formula and follow-on formula are important contributors to dietary exposure of copper in infants and toddlers. Contribution from non-oral sources is negligible. Dietary exposure to total copper does not exceed the HBGV in adolescents, adults, elderly and the very elderly. Neither hepatic copper retention nor adverse effects are expected to occur from the estimated copper exposure in children due to higher nutrient requirements related to growth.
... Also, in the copper-treated burned samples, we found an increase in the amount of collagen fibers than in the saline-treated control group, as seen in the dermal layer in Figure 7b. Other clinical studies demonstrated increased elasticity of the skin tissue, reduction of sagging, and overall improvement of the skin well-being following the use of copper-impregnated fabrics [38][39][40][41][42][43]. ...
Introduction: The zone of stasis is formed around the coagulation zone following skin burning and is characterized by its unique potential for salvation. The cells in this zone may die or survive depending on the severity of the burn and therefore are target for the local treatments of burns. Their low survival rate is consistent with decreased tissue perfusion, hypotension, infection, and/or edema, resulting in a significant increase in the wound size following burning. Copper is an essential trace mineral needed for the normal function of almost all body tissues, including the skin. Objective: The aim of the work was to study the effect copper ions have on skin burn pathophysiology. Methods: Skin obtained from healthy patients undergoing abdominoplasty surgery was cut into 8 × 8 mm squares, and round 0.8-mm diameter burn wounds were inflicted on the skin explants. The burned and control intact skin samples were cultured up to 27 days after wounding. Immediately following injury and then again every 48 h, saline only or containing 0.02 or 1 µM copper ions was added onto the skin explant burn wounds. Results: We found that exposing the wounded sites immediately after burn infliction to 0.02 or 1 µM copper ions reduced the deterioration of the zone of stasis and the increase in wound size. The presence of the copper ions prevented the dramatic increase of pro-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8) and transforming growth factor beta-1 that followed skin burning. We also detected re-epithelialization of the skin tissue and a greater amount of collagen fibers upon copper treatment. Conclusion: The deterioration of the zone of stasis and the increase in wound size following burning may be prevented or reduced by using copper ion-based therapeutic interventions.
... demonstrated that continuous contact with the skin of copper oxide-impregnated textiles has a positive effect on the skin. [11][12][13][14][15][18][19][20] Copper can be absorbed through skin. 16 Accordingly, some copper-containing ointments are used, for example, for treatment of rheumatic diseases, reduction in swelling associated with trauma, and improvement of renal function. ...
Background: Clinical studies demonstrated that continued exposure to copper oxide-embedded textiles, such as pillowcases, significantly reduces depth of facial wrinkles and skin sagging and enhances skin elasticity. Objective: Study the mechanisms by which the exposure to copper ions improve the well-being of the skin. Methods: Human skin explants, cultured ex-vivo, were exposed topically to saline alone or saline containing 0.02 or 1 µmol/L copper ions. The skin explants viability, histology and secretion of elastin, pro-collagen 1, and TGF-β1 to the culture medium were determined at various time intervals. Results: Exposure to saline containing 0.02 or 1 µmol/L copper ions did not affect the viability or morphological profile of the explants as compared to control explants treated with saline only. Notably, exposure of the skin grafts to 0.02 or to 1 µmol/L of copper ions resulted in ~100% and ~20% increases in elastin and pro-collagen 1 concentrations, respectively, in the culture supernatants already after 1 day of incubation, which remained statistically significantly elevated also after 6 days on incubation, as compared to the control explants. In addition, ~2- and ~4-fold increases in TGF-ß1 levels in the culture supernatants of explants exposed to the copper ions were detected after 4 and 6 days of culture, as compared to the explants exposed to saline alone. Conclusion: This study substantiated the anti-aging effect that copper ions have on the skin and gave insights into the mechanisms by which exposure of the skin to copper ions improves the skin well-being.
... Copper oxide impregnated socks have been shown to be effective in help treating acute and chronic athlete's foot infections [32][33][34]. In addition, a double blind, placebo-controlled study demonstrated that wearing socks impregnated with copper oxide particles increases skin elasticity [35]. Increased skin elasticity is important especially in diabetic individuals, as their skin is less elastic and very dry, increasing significantly the susceptible of their skin to infection and breakdown [29]. ...
Full-text available
Copper has two key properties that make it an attractive component to introduce into textiles and socks in particular – it has potent biocidal properties and is an essential trace element vital for the normal function of skin. The capacity of copper oxide impregnated socks to kill fungi that causes tinea pedis (athlete’s foot) and to enhance skin elasticity has already been demonstrated. In the current study, we assessed the beneficial effect on the skin of the foot in the wider population by supplying socks impregnated with microscopic copper oxide particles to 5,000 individuals that were identified via an internet survey as people who had experienced athlete’s foot within the past 6 months or were concerned about the appearance of their feet. Each individual received 3 complementary pairs of socks and was asked to use them as they would normally use their own socks. After 90 days 3,603 paricipants answered an online questionnaire. The vast majority (82%) of responders that felt uncomfortable showing their bare feet in public before using the socks reported a meaningful improvement to their foot skin following the use of the socks for at least 5 hours a day. 61% of respondents reported elimination or reduction of their foot odor, and 60% reported stopping using a foot care regime or therapy due to using the supplied socks. 51% indicated that the socks improved the appearance of their feet and 58% indicated they were now more comfortable showing their feet in public. In view of the above, it can be concluded that the simple use of copper oxide impregnated socks for at least 5 hours a day helps improve the foot skin well-being and overall appearance of the skin.
Drug-based treatment of superficial fungal infections, such as onychomycosis, is not the only defense. Sanitization of footwear such as shoes, socks/stockings, and other textiles is integral to the prevention of recurrence and reduction of spread for superficial fungal mycoses. The goal of this review was to examine the available methods of sanitization for footwear and textiles against superficial fungal infections. A systematic literature search of various sanitization devices and methods that could be applied to footwear and textiles using PubMed, Scopus, and MEDLINE was performed. Fifty-four studies were found relevant to the different methodologies, devices, and techniques of sanitization as they pertain to superficial fungal infections of the feet. These included topics of basic sanitization, antifungal and antimicrobial materials, sanitization chemicals and powder, laundering, ultraviolet, ozone, nonthermal plasma, microwave radiation, essential oils, and natural plant extracts. In the management of onychomycosis, it is necessary to think beyond treatment of the nail, as infections enter through the skin. Those prone to onychomycosis should examine their environment, including surfaces, shoes, and socks, and ensure that proper sanitization is implemented.
Objective To investigate the effect of copper impregnated wound dressings on the surgical site infection (SSI) rate following caesarean section (CS). Design Single centre double blind randomised controlled trial. Participants Women aged 18 years or over who had a CS. Interventions All women were randomised to receive either a copper-oxide impregnated wound dressing (study group) or a non-copper wound dressing (control group). Main outcome measures The primary study outcome was the incidence of SSI within a 30-day period from CS, assessed via a telephone questionnaire. Secondary outcomes were length of hospital stay, and readmission rate. Results 324 women were enrolled in the study of whom 159 were randomised to the study group and 165 to the control group. The follow up rate was 97.5%. A total of 78 women (24.1%) developed an SSI within 30 days following CS; 29 (18.2%) in the study group and 49 (29.7%) controls (P = 0.037, relative risk reduction (RRR) of 38.7%). The incidence of superficial/deep SSI was not significantly different (24.2% vs. 17.6%, P = 0.257), however a significant relative risk reduction of 80.3% for Organ/Space SSI was observed in the study group (12.7% vs. 2.5%, P = 0.002). Length of hospital stay, and readmission rate did not vary significantly between groups. Conclusions This is the first study to demonstrate a significant reduction in SSI rates following CS with the use of copper impregnated wound dressings. The high SSI rate confirms the importance of new strategies to reduce the infection rate. Copper is a natural remedy which could potentially reduce hospital acquired infections without the use of antibiotics and its associated risks of antibiotic resistance.
Full-text available
Copper ions, either alone or in copper complexes, have been used for centuries to disinfect liquids, solids, and human tissue. Today copper is used as a water purifier, algaecide, fungicide, nematocide, molluscicide, and antibacterial and antifouling agent. Copper also displays potent antiviral activity. We hypothesized that introducing copper into clothing, bedding, and other articles would provide them with biocidal properties. A durable platform technology has been developed that introduces copper into cotton fibers, latex, and other polymeric materials. This study demonstrates the broad-spectrum antimicrobial (antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal) and antimite activities of copper-impregnated fibers and polyester products. This technology enabled the production of antiviral gloves and filters (which deactivate HIV-1 and other viruses), antibacterial self-sterilizing fabrics (which kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococci), antifungal socks (which alleviate symptoms of athlete's foot), and anti-dust mite mattress covers (which reduce mite-related allergies). These products did not have skin-sensitizing properties, as determined by guine pig maximization and rabbit skin irritation tests. Our study demonstrates the potential use of copper in new applications. These applications address medical issues of the greatest importance, such as viral transmissions; nosocomial, or healthcare-associated, infections; and the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Full-text available
Copper ions, either alone or in copper complexes, have been used to disinfect liquids, solids and human tissue for centuries. Today copper is used as a water purifier, algaecide, fungicide, nematocide, molluscicide as well as an anti-bacterial and anti-fouling agent. Copper also displays potent anti-viral activity. This article reviews (i) the biocidal properties of copper; (ii) the possible mechanisms by which copper is toxic to microorganisms; and (iii) the systems by which many microorganisms resist high concentrations of heavy metals, with an emphasis on copper.
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The spectrum of dermatophytes isolated from skin lesions had changed in last 70 years. Before the Second World War in Germany, Microsporum audouinii and Epidermophyton floccosum ranked the first, whereas Trichophyton rubrum is the most common dermatophyte since the fifties of last century, accounting for 80-90% of the strains, followed by T. mentagrophytes. This evolution is typical for Central and North Europe and it needs to be connected with the increase in the incidence of tinea pedis. In contrast, in Southern Europe and in Arabic countries, zoophilic dermatophytes, such as Microsporum canis or Trichophyton verrucosum, are the most frequently isolated. In Europe, especially in Mediterranean countries, the incidence of M. canis infection has strongly increased during the recent years and this dermatophyte is now the most prevalent in tinea capitis in children. An analysis of the frequency and distribution of tinea pedis in different occupations and leisure-time activities as well as the routes of infection are reported. The spreading of this disease in most developed countries of the world represents a considerable economic problem, since it was accompanied by a parallel increase in the frequency of onychomycosis which implies, as tinea pedis, large financial charges. In poor developing countries, mycoses appear endemically, primarily with children, and their treatment often fails because of the lack of efficient antifungals. The particular epidemiological situations of dermatophytoses and the pathogenic spectrum of dermatophytes are examined at the example of numerous countries.
Fungal infections of the skin and nails are a common global problem. The high prevalence of superficial mycotic infections shows that 20-25% of the world's population has skin mycoses, making these one of the most frequent forms of infection. Pathogens responsible for skin mycoses are primarily anthropophilic and zoophilic dermatophytes from the genera Trichophyton (T.), Microsporum (M.) and Epidermophyton (E.). There appears to be considerable inter- and intra-continental variability in the global incidence of these fungal infections. Trichophyton rubrum, T. interdigitale (mentagrophytes var. interdigitale), M. canis, M. audouinii, T. tonsurans and T. verrucosum are the most common, but the attack rates and incidence of specific mycoses can vary widely. Local socio-economic conditions and cultural practices can also influence the prevalence of a particular infection in a given area. For example, tinea pedis (athlete's foot) is more prevalent in developed countries than in emerging economies and is likely to be caused by the anthropophilic germ T. rubrum. In poorer countries, scalp infections (tinea capitis) caused by T. soudanense or M. audouinii are more prevalent. This review summarises current epidemiological trends for fungal infections and focuses on dermatomycosis of glabrous skin on different continents.
Tinea pedis, known as Athlete's foot, is a common fungal infection of the feet, the majority of cases caused by dermatophytes. Copper oxide has potent antimicrobial and antifungal properties. A pilot study designed to examine the efficacy of treating tinea pedis utilizing copper-oxide impregnated fibers woven into socks worn on a daily basis. Fifty-six patients, ranging in age from 21 to 85 years were clinically diagnosed, photographed, and treated with the copper soled socks. Eight variables were studied, including scaling, erythema, fissuring, burning or itching, vesicular eruptions, edema, odor, and drainage. In a 9-day average follow up, all patients showed improvement or resolution of erythema (with a 95% Confidence interval (CI) of 1.0), fissuring (CI=1.0), vesicular eruptions (CI=1.0), scaling (CI=0.9-1.0) and for burning and itching (CI=0.61-0.95). In a 40-day average follow up, the 95% CI for improvement or resolution of scaling was 0.68-0.97, for erythema, 0.65-0.97, and for fissuring, burning and itching and vesicular eruptions it was 1.0. None of the study subjects worsened or showed adverse reactions while wearing copper-oxide impregnated socks. This study strongly supports the effectiveness in using copper-oxide impregnated polyester fibers in treating the common manifestations of tinea pedis.
Tuberculin-sensitized mouse peritoneal cells exposed to purified protein derivative release an interferon-like virus inhibition within 24 hr. Release appears to require the interaction of specifically sensitized lymphocytes and sensitized or unsensitized macrophages.