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MRSA and C.diff cases on the decline

Wednesday 23rd May 2012
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The risk of contracting MRSA or C.difficile infections in hospital is on the decline, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

Officials at the government department have stated that the chance of an infection spreading can be significantly reduced if the hospital's staff are properly trained to combat the spread of these diseases. In the HPA's snapshot of over 50,000 patients, it found that healthcare associated infections (HCAI) were down to 6.4 per cent, but the organisation believes that more can be done to ensure that a patient does not contract further infection when they are admitted to hospital.

The HPA's HCAI Point Prevalence Study (PPS) revealed that babies aged between one to 23 months had the highest prevalence rate of HCAI, with 8.2 per cent within this age bracket contracting an infection while in hospital. However, since the previous HCAI PPS in 2006, there had been an eighteen-fold drop in MRSA bloodstream infection and a five-fold reduction in cases of C.difficile infections, despite a number of outbreaks in recent weeks across Scotland.

Raigmore Hospital in Inverness had to close its cancer ward after the second outbreak of the potentially deadly disease. Three patients had contracted the infection and staff were looking at ways to combat the problem. According to NHS statistics, there was a 35 per cent drop in the number of C.diff cases in 2008/9 from the previous year, as reported cases dropped to 36,095.

The HPA has found that that statistic has fallen even further since 2006 and the prevalence of both MRSA and C.diff had dropped again meaning that HCAI diseases like pneumonia and respiratory problems contracted in hospitals had also begun to fall.

Dr Susan Hopkins, healthcare epidemiologist at the HPA and the lead author of the report, said: "Measures that were put in place to tackle MRSA and C. difficile infections have ensured that over the last few years rates have consistently gone down.

"In the meantime other bacteria, notably Enterobacteriaceae (also known as coliforms), have increased. It is clear that we need to find ways to control and prevent transmission of these bacteria and this is an important priority."

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written by Megan SmithADNFCR-1780-ID-801369943-ADNFCR

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