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'Superbugs' on the rise in Canadian hospitals, new Queen's study shows
Date:11/7/2008

Kingston, ON Although infection control has been substantially ramped up in Canadian hospitals since the SARS crisis of 2003, the number of resistant bacterial infections post-SARS have multiplied even faster, a new Queen's University study shows.

Led by Queen's epidemiologist Dr. Dick Zoutman, the national survey is a six-year follow-up to a study that was undertaken in 1999, prior to the outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

The original, groundbreaking study, funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, showed that most Canadian hospitals fell seriously short in preventing patients from getting hospital infections. The researchers estimated then that about 250,000 patients a year experience infected surgical wounds, blood infections, and antibiotic-resistant organisms while in hospital and that 8,000 of these patients will die.

Findings from the new Queen's study which draws on data from 2005 will be published in the December issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

While human resources to combat the problem have increased significantly particularly in Ontario and Quebec the number of hospital-acquired infections has risen even faster. "The combination of more infection control practitioners and activity, but also more bugs, hasn't taken us where we want to be," says Dr. Zoutman, who is director of Infection Prevention and Control at Kingston General Hospital. "We've made some strides, but there is still a lot to do. We'd like to see increased surveillance and control activities, which our study indicates haven't been achieved yet."

Since the first survey was conducted, the rates of MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) have more than doubled across Canada, from 2.0 to 5.2 per 1,000 hospital admissions. Another deadly bacterium, VRE (Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus), was found in 77 per cent more hospitals in the 2005 survey than in 199
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Contact: Nancy Dorrance
nancy.dorrance@queensu.ca
613-533-2869
Queen's University
Source:Eurekalert  

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