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Reducing epidemic proportions
Date:11/5/2008

Hospitals are supposed to be havens for healing, but the numbers tell a different story. Too many people are infected by illnesses they acquire after they've been admitted, and hospital-related infections continue to be the number-two killer of hospitalized Americans after heart disease.

Now, a radical new high-tech software program developed by Tel Aviv University researchers to fight these infections is now catching on faster than the flu.

Prof. Yehuda Carmeli from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University has developed a security system for preventing hospital epidemics. Integrating basic sanitary procedures, his system uses the tools of high-tech communication email alerts, SMS's, and online communication to alert hospital staff of potential threats.

Two years ago Prof. Carmeli's team adopted this system in their own institutions, and the work paid off. "We stopped forty-five percent of the primary hospital-borne organisms that attack patients from spreading," says Prof. Carmeli. His most recent paper on the topic appeared in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy this year.

Good Medical News Travels Fast

Top medical centers in America are now asking for his help. Prof. Carmeli was recently invited to top U.S. medical centers, including Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, and to the medical schools at Ohio State University and Philadelphia's Temple University, to demonstrate the new high-tech line of defense against infection.

The first step to fighting hospital epidemics, Prof. Carmeli says, is the identification of potentially contagious patients. "What we have done is built a computerized system that collects information from microbial lab cultures and sends real-time alerts and reminders to the wards every day. The system also allows nurses and doctors to send feedback so infections are closely monitored, with special patients being handled very differently from
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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