Preventing the spread of infection is a battle being fought, not just in civilian healthcare settings worldwide, but in the military healthcare system as well.

Described by military officials to a House subcommittee in September 2010 as having ‘complicated’ the care of injured service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, military healthcare officials continue to monitor and take action against the spread of infections caused by bacteria and other disease-causing microorganisms, also known as microbes.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises microbes and the infections they spread as a leading cause of death in the world today. Now a new solution is available from DRASH to help address the problem right on the frontlines. Enter XYTEX 500, a new shelter fabric developed by DHS and exclusive to DRASH shelters that offers 99.99% protection against microbes by killing them on contact.

DRASH shelters with XYTEX 500 will provide a more aseptic or sterile-like environment where surgeries and other complex medical procedures occur in the field because of the added benefit of antimicrobial protection incorporated into the shelter’s surface.

"The next-generation of DRASH shelters will be a game-changer for the shelter industry," says A. Jon Prusmack, president and CEO for DHS Technologies. "We have always built superior shelters. Now we offer a significant feature that provides tremendous benefits to the soldier."

The breakthrough XYTEX 500 technology was recently unveiled at tradeshows like AUSA and DSEi and was widely praised. XYTEX 500 employs a unique nanotechnology that is the first of its kind in the military shelter industry. The proprietary technology consists of a microscopic bed of nano-size spikes that lie in wait to puncture the cell walls of invading microbes and bacteria, killing them as they come to rest on the shelter’s surface. The same technology will also guard against mould, mildew and fungus while in storage after a deployment.

"We saw that the healthcare providers were seeking more solutions that can help eliminate the kinds of infections that can be prevalent in healthcare facilities," says Steve Babbage, a business development representative at DHS Systems International and former military medic. "Now we can arm them with a new way to combat the spread of microbes on the frontlines."

"We recognise the role that infection prevention plays in saving lives and reducing healthcare costs," said Marcel Branis, vice president for manufacturing. "We wanted to do our part to help."

But use in field hospitals is just one use for XYTEX 500. Branis says this technology can be used for a broader range of applications. He says XYTEX 500 can also enhance and greatly improve the environment for command and control and life support areas as well giving users a cleaner and healthier environment to work or rest while working on the battlefield.

Soon to be in full production, officials are looking more closely at DRASH systems that offer protection against bacteria and microorganisms while still retaining their rapid-deployable capabilities needed on the frontlines of battlefields and emergency scenes.