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Crackdown on Dirty Hospitals in UK

That dirty hospitals are not a prerogative of the underdeveloped countries is old hat by now. There have been a barrage of reports highlighting hospital infection. Only a few days ago it was reported that a nurse blew up when a heart-attack patient in England complained he had been left lying in his own urine puddle for a few hours.

But some time governments in the developed world some time try to get their act together. Like in the UK now. The Healthcare Commission said it would carry out spot checks at 120 NHS trusts over the next year in its biggest ever programme of visits aimed at cutting rates of infection with the deadly superbugs MRSA and Clostridium difficile.

While Clostridium difficile [is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions such as colitis, .MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is shorthand for any strain of Staphylococcus bacteria which is resistant to one or more conventional antibiotics. Experts have so far uncovered 17 strains of MRSA, with differing degrees of immunity to the effects of various antibiotics.

Two particular strains, clones 15 and 16, are thought to be more transmissible than the others, and account for 96% of MRSA bloodstream infections in the UK. At present, these strains are thought to be rare in other countries, but are spreading. Official figures published in the UK six weeks ago show Clostridium difficile causes 4,000 deaths a year and is still spreading despite all attempts to curb it. The bug causes severe diarrhoea which can lead to inflammation of the bowel, gas gangrene and death.

Some hospitals have infection rates six times higher than others. Inadequate infection control, poor standards of cleanliness and the misuse of antibiotics are blamed for the spread of the bug. Last year, cases of C-difficile rose by 8 per cent to a record 55,681 cases. The number of deaths has risen four-fold since 1999, although
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