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Patient Safety Authority Supports 'International Infection Prevention Week'
Date:10/20/2008

Two infections that have garnered consumer tips information are Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA (pronounced Mer-sa) and Clostridium difficile (pronounced klo-STRID-ee-um dif-uh-SEEL) or C. diff. Both infections have become a growing concern in the healthcare industry.

MRSA is a bacterial organism that is resistant to certain antibiotics. MRSA can be acquired in a healthcare facility or occur in the community. More than 1,700 reports related to MRSA, including 14 deaths, were submitted to the Authority from June 2004 through October 2007. While the Authority continues to work with healthcare facilities and other health agencies to reduce MRSA infections, consumers can also protect themselves as much as possible while they are in a healthcare facility or at home by following the consumer tips offered by the Authority on its website.

C. diff is a bacterial organism that occurs most often when patients are treated with antibiotics to guard against infection for an elective surgery. Reports submitted to the Authority show in several cases patients developed C. diff at home after leaving the healthcare facility. This disease was seen as a major contributing factor for causing patient deaths in reported cases. Most patients in the reports (86%) were 70 or older. In several cases, data showed the patients failed to return to the healthcare facility until the disease had progressed significantly. Unfortunately, most patients likely did not know their symptoms were serious and did not associate them with the antibiotics taken.

For consumer tips about C. diff or MRSA go to the Authority's website http://www.psa.state.pa.us and click on "Tips for Consumers." For more information about MRSA go to the December 2007 Patient Safety Advisory article "Identification and Effective Communication of Status May Reduce MRSA Infections" and for more information about C. diff go to the Jun
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority
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