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MRSA at Noble's Hospital 8 October 2004

The DHSS has moved to re-assure the public over concerns about MRSA infection, following a recent case highlighted in the media.

The Department stated that any case of MRSA infection is one too many for the patient and their family. However, it was emphasised that the incidence of MRSA infection at Noble's Hospital is amongst the lowest in Western Europe and less than 1%, and is comparable to Dutch and Finnish Hospitals widely regarded as the finest in Europe. MRSA rates of 27% are not uncommon.

The low infection rate at Noble's Hospital is achieved through a stringent control of infection policy, and the risks of patients contracting MRSA are extremely small.

Most MRSA infections/colonisations are acquired in the community and are brought into the hospital.

In the event of an outbreak the Hospital's cleansing programme is precautionary to prevent any potential spread. It is a question of containment and eradication.

It is definitely NOT an issue of cleanliness in the Hospital and indeed Noble's Hospital observes the highest standard of cleaning. Despite the public perception, MRSA is spread through individual close contact not through background cleanliness, although for other reasons this is of the utmost importance.

MRSA is a more resistant form of a very common skin organism which about one third of the population carries. It therefore needs to be treated with a different antibiotic to those commonly used.

Cleaning on Ward areas is part of the Hospital's standard policy because a patient with MRSA was there NOT because they caught it there.

It is almost impossible to identify the source of the infection, especially if it is an isolated case.

The vast majority of MRSA infections are not serious and respond to treatment. It engenders fear within patients largely because of the media descriptions of "Hospital Killer Super Bug". This is not to imply it is not potentially serious in a limited number of cases.

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