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The latest figures from the Health Protection Agency show that there has been a 77% reduction in MRSA bloodstream infections compared with the 2003-04 quarterly average and a 35% reduction in C. difficile cases between April 2008 and March 2009 (as of 3 Feb 2010).
Many people carry MRSA on their skin or in their nose. It does not make them ill and they are not a risk to healthy people. We all carry lots of bacteria on our skin and usually it doesn't cause a problem. But when a person carrying MRSA has a procedure or treatment that involves breaking the skin at hospital or in the community, then the MRSA can get into the body and may cause an infection.
The NHS is now screening all patients for MRSA before their planned operations to help protect them against infection. If we find out you are carrying MRSA before you go into hospital we can use a simple treatment to get rid of as much of it as possible.
MRSA bacteria are usually spread through skin-to-skin contact with someone who has an MRSA infection or who is colonised by the bacteria. C. difficile spores leave the body in an infected person's diarrhoea. The spores can then contaminate their surroundings, such as toilets, bedclothes, skin and clothing.
Staff, patients and visitors should wash their hands regularly and thoroughly using water and detergent as well as using the alcohol hand rubs. They should do this when they enter or leave a patient's room or other areas of the hospital. Do not rely solely on alcohol gel as this does not kill C. difficile spores.
We all have a part to play in driving infections down even further. Good hand hygiene, high standards of cleanliness, effective patient screening and sensible use of antibiotics are all vitally important in the fight against infection.
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