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MRSA & MSSA news on British Nursing News Online
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27 records found from year 2006

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Wednesday, 26 July 2006 08:35
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
It emerged yesterday that babies at one of Scotland's leading neonatal units have been found to be carrying the MRSA superbug.

NHS Lothian said four babies were discovered to be carrying the bug on their skin at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary unit during April and May.

It followed two previous "clusters" in the past year which did not emerge until yesterday.

Dr Alison McCallum, director of public health at NHS Lothian, said these clusters were dealt with by the unit, which admits around 700 babies a year, and the problem appeared to be over. But the third cluster prompted a detailed plan to address infection control issues.

Dr McCallum, speaking at the board's annual review meeting with Andy Kerr, the health minister, said this had resulted in a "deep clean" of the unit. She said babies were now also screened for MRSA on admission to the unit and weekly. "We are now content that all the steps that should have been taken have been taken," Dr McCallum said.

"None of these babies was unwell as a result of the presence of MRSA and none has required additional treatment."

The health board was questioned over the MRSA clusters by Mr Kerr as he reviewed the progress over the past year, and he said the issue was "such a significant matter of patient confidence" that it needed to be taken seriously.

But the minister said that while the unit had faced some "big challenges", he had been reassured by the measures taken.

"The changes they have made are about best practice, on matters such as the way the unit was used, the proximity of cots to each other and so on," he said.

"I don't think there are grounds to be worried about the unit. They probably have the best healthcare-associated infections-handling system in Scotland now, because of the measures that have been taken”.

Christine Perry, of the Infection Control Nurses Association, said infants in neonatal intensive care were at particular risk from infections.

"The nature of intensive care means using drips and drains, which puts babies at greater risk of any infection. MRSA in neonatal units is something that hospitals take very seriously," she added.

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Tuesday, 25 July 2006 08:16
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
According to new figures released by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) cases of Clostridium difficile infection in patients aged 65 years and above increased by 17.2% in England over the last year, from 44,107 in 2004 to 51,690 in 2005.

C. difficile is a common hospital-acquired infection which usually causes diarrhoea but can lead to fevers or more serious infections.

Older people are particularly at risk, but the figures show that approximately around 13,000 cases were also recorded among younger patients.

Almost 30% of samples in 2005 were caused by C. difficile ribotype 027, which has previously been associated with major outbreaks.

The HPA said there were concerns that 027 was linked to increased severity of symptoms and increased rates among younger people.

The latest figures also show cases of MRSA in England fell by 2.5% to 3,517 in the six months ending March 2006.

Sir William Stewart, Chairman of the Agency, said:"This is the first time that the Health Protection Agency has published these figures together, and they provide a detailed picture of the challenge posed by healthcare associated infections. This data will play a vital role in helping hospitals measure their performance. Rates are not the same across the country. Some hospitals are doing an outstanding job, others have much to do".

Dr Georgia Duckworth, head of the Agency's HCAI Department, said:"Nationally the increase in C. difficile and limited decrease in MRSA cases indicate there is much work to be done, but today's figures show some encouraging signs. Individual trusts, such as the six who reported no MRSA blood poisoning cases at all and others with significant reductions in cases are leading the way in reducing healthcare-associated infection."

"The MRSA enhanced surveillance figures will be especially useful in identifying where the MRSA was acquired, allowing a more targeted approach to control. These figures will help us further understand the problem and show how we can best tackle the disease."

"It is also important to remember that not all healthcare-associated infections are preventable. Some of these infections are the price we pay for advances in medicine which allow patients to survive who would have been unlikely to survive their illness a few years ago”.

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Monday, 24 July 2006 10:14
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
An internal policy review conducted by the Department of Health, which was leaked to the newspaper The Independent, show that government targets to cut NHS hospital waiting times are putting patients at increased risk of infection with the superbug MRSA.

The policy shows that there is a direct link between the number of patients in hospital - measured by bed occupancy - and MRSA rates. Ministers have denied there is a link.

The findings of the review are considered so sensitive that two attempts by The Independent to obtain the report under the Freedom of Information Act were rejected. Reducing bed occupancy in all NHS trusts to a maximum of 85 per cent would save 1,000 cases of MRSA a year, it says.

The latest figures for 2004-05 show that 88 NHS trusts in England, one fifth of the total, had occupancy rates over 90 per cent and almost half (45 per cent) had occupancy rates over 85 per cent.

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Sunday, 23 July 2006 09:19
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
According to a study to be published in the Journal of Hospital Infection hospital staffs are failing to wash their hands after touching patients carrying the superbug MRSA.

In a study by Elizabeth Jenner and Ben Fletcher from Hertfordshire University, they followed 71 staff on a hospital ward over a week, with some of the patients they cared for being in isolation because they were known to have the MRSA infection.

They found that on 22 per cent of occasions, staffs failed to wash their hands after contact with MRSA patients, increasing the risk that it would be spread to the next patient they touched - despite the fact that the staff knew they were being observed.

While studying more than 1,000 occasions when nurses and doctors came into contact with patients, they also found that for a quarter of that time, they also failed to wash after contact with patients' faeces and, for 38 per cent of the time, failed to wash their hands after contact with blood. All these factors increase the risks of germs spreading on a ward.

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Tuesday, 11 July 2006 09:43
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Tygacil a new drug to combat serious infections such as the MRSA superbug has been approved for use in hospitals across Scotland.

Doctors said the antibiotic Tygacil, which works against resistant infections where traditional drugs fail, had the potential to save many lives.

Now the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has recommended the treatment for use in patients with abdominal, skin and soft-tissue infections which do not respond to other drugs.

Professor Dilip Nathwani, a consultant physician and honorary professor of infection at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, welcomed the SMC's approval.

"In recent years the development and introduction of new antibiotics for serious multi-resistant infections has been slow, so Tygacil offers us an important opportunity to clinically and cost-effectively manage some of these more difficult infections," Prof Nathwani said.

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Monday, 26 June 2006 11:51
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Scientists have discovered why the bacterium responsible for many hospital-acquired infections is so difficult to tackle.

Researchers found that clostridium difficile, which caused more than 44,000 infections in Britain in 2004, can chop and change its genetic structure very easily – enabling it to neutralise attack by antibodies.

C.difficile is particularly difficult to tackle because it can only be treated with two antibiotics, metronidazole and vancomycin, and there is concern that these will soon become ineffective.

The bug, which is now more prevalent and deadly than the MRSA superbug, causes a range of diseases from antibiotic-associated diarrhoea to the life-threatening colon disease pseudomembranous colitis.

The Sanger Institute researchers found that half the genes in C.difficile are absent from four of its bacterial cousins and, unlike its nearest relatives, the bug can readily exchange genes and resistance elements.

Researcher Dr Mohammed Sebaihia said: "The genome of C. difficile is in a state of flux.

"More than 10 per cent of the genome consists of mobile elements - sequences that can move from one organism to another - and this is how it has acquired genes that make it such an effective pathogen.

"It has gained an array of genes that make it resist antibiotics, help it to interact with, and thrive in, the human gut and help it to change its surface.

"This combination gives it a hugely impressive range of resources to help it prosper in humans."

Professor Brendan Wren, who also worked on the study, said that only 40 per cent of genes were shared between the eight different strains of C.difficile analysed.

"Its overall variation is remarkable. The genetic comparison of these strains will help us understand how C. difficile ticks and help to explain how the hypervirulent strains emerged and spread so rapidly."

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Wednesday, 21 June 2006 10:22
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Up to 52 million people worldwide could be carrying the MRSA superbug, scientists have warned.

MRSA (meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is the most commonly identified antibiotic resistant pathogen in many parts of the world and is regularly found in Europe, north and south America, north Africa, the middle East, and east Asia.

Scientists from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands published their findings in the Lancet.

Professor Hajo Grundmann, scientific co-ordinator of the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System, said rates of MRSA were beginning to rise in Scandinavia and the Netherlands, where levels had been low.

"Conservative estimates based on either Dutch or United States prevalence figures predict that between two million and 52 million carry MRSA worldwide," he said.

Prof Grundmann said a "fitter" strain of the superbug had evolved that could prove even more resistant to treatment.

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Tuesday, 20 June 2006 08:54
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Britain's largest union Unison are to pilot a six-month trial that will start at Glasgow's Southern General Hospital. The union intends to send in their own hospital cleaners in a bid to try to beat the superbug MRSA.

The hospital cleaners will target lockers, bed frames, buzzers and portable telephones - places where patients are more likely to pick up the infection.

Microbiologist Stephanie Dancer, who will lead the team, believes her action plan will show superbugs can be eliminated without massive cost. She said yesterday the six-month controlled study will provide "clear proof" that MRSA can be beaten.

Dr Dancer said: "Unison have given me the chance to find the proof we need to show that proper and clever cleaning can have an impact.

"I believe this system combined with an extra cleaning lady for eight hours a day will beat MRSA and it won't break the bank”.

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Saturday, 03 June 2006 10:56
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Scottish nurses have warned ministers that having to change in toilets and wash their own uniforms is increasing the risk of passing deadly infections on to patients.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said a lack of changing facilities and laundry services in Scottish hospitals was hampering the fight against superbugs such as MRSA, and called on the Executive to ensure all employers provide suitable changing and laundry facilities.

RCN research shows that almost a third of nurses (32 per cent) did not have access to changing facilities at work and have to change in toilets or wear their uniforms to work.

Forty four per cent did not have access to showering facilities at work, while 34 per cent did not have a locker for belongings. Fifty eight per cent did not have access to a laundering service.

Jane McCready, board chairwoman of RCN Scotland, said: "It's common sense that healthcare staff should have a separate uniform for every shift they work. But we know that this often isn't the case and the implications for infection control are obvious.

"Healthcare staff need to be given the resources and facilities to tackle healthcare associated infections effectively.

"The results of this research show that nurses are being hampered in those efforts when it comes to safe practice around uniforms."

Margaret Davidson, chief executive of the Scotland Patients Association, said all nurses should have access to proper changing facilities.

"Nurses shouldn't have to travel in their uniforms because they could pick up cross-infections. They must have the facilities to get changed in a safe and clean environment at work so they are in a proper state to be near patients."

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said: "We recommend that changing facilities be provided for NHS staff to encourage them to change out of a uniform while still in the workplace."

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Saturday, 27 May 2006 08:43
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
The training course "cleanliness champions", that the Scottish Executive set up in order to combat infections such as MRSA in hospitals, it is now under threat because nurses do not have the time to complete the required training.

The initiative was launched four years ago, with a pledge to train 3,500 nurses with extra skills to fight hospital-acquired infections.

The course can be done online, which takes about 20 hours. But extra time is required for work-based elements, so that the training can be placed in context.

But NHS Education for Scotland (NES), which developed the programme, acknowledged that in some cases, nurses were having problems finding the time to complete it.

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association, said it was "extremely concerned" about nurses not being given the time to do the training.

She said: "From a patient safety point of view, it is very worrying.

"How would a patient feel if they realised the person looking after them had not been able to do all the training available because of a lack of time?

"When cuts start to be made, such as reducing time for training, which is when accidents can happen.

"That is when everything slips and we are not looking after patients as well as we should”.

Maggie White, the deputy director of the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland, said the college strongly supported the cleanliness champions’ scheme.

But she added: "However, progress so far has been disappointingly slow in some parts of the country.

"This will only improve if the barriers to staff joining the scheme are dealt with.

"They need to be supported with the time and staff cover that is necessary to access and complete the course."

Last year, the Executive made the initiative mandatory for all charge nurse grades. A spokeswoman said work was continuing to achieve this.

She said: "We recognise that completion of the training programme requires significant staff time and commitment.

"We recently provided over £230,000 in extra funding to help boards improve completion rates".

The spokeswoman added: "Over the last eight months, there has been a rapid increase in the uptake and completion of the cleanliness champions training programme.

"We are on course to reach the target of 3,500 champions later this year”.

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