Hospital bug MRSA falls to lowest ever level

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Cases of MRSA and MSSA are at their lowest level since records began, new figures have revealed.

Figures published today by Health Protection Scotland show cases of MRSA decreased from 69 to 52 between the first and second quarter of 2011, and compared with the same period last year (Q2) cases were down from 79 to 52.

This is a reduction of over 75.8 per cent compared with the same period in 2007 (when 215 cases were reported).  MRSA is now at the lowest level since surveillance began in 2005.

The figures also showed that the number of MSSA cases decreased from 355 to 345 from the first to second quarter of 2011 – also the lowest level since surveillance began in 2005.

Clostridium difficile infections in patients aged 65 and over increased marginally from 355 cases in the first quarter to 378 cases in the second quarter of 2011, although this slight increase is not considered by Health Protection Scotland to be statistically significant and represents a decrease from 577 cases (34.5 per cent) from the same period last year.

This is the second lowest number of cases since surveillance began in 2006 – the previous quarter being the lowest. When compared with the same period in 2007 there is a decrease of 76.2 per cent – down from 1,588 cases to 378 cases.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

“There is absolutely no room for complacency in the battle against healthcare associated infections and we are determined to do all we can to sustain the gains achieved to date, bring the number down and further increase public confidence in the NHS.”

“We have invested more than £50 million funding over the past three years to tackle healthcare associated infections. I welcome the fact that cases of MRSA and MSSA are at their lowest levels since surveillance started in 2005.”

“There was a small increase in Clostridium difficile cases. However, the number of cases reported was the second lowest level since surveillance began in 2006. Significant reductions have been achieved in the last four years, with a 76.2 per cent decrease in cases compared to the same period in 2007.”

MRSA (meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a common skin bacterium that is resistant to a range of antibiotics. MSSA stands (meticillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus) infections can be more easily treated by antibiotics.