Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

20% Increase in Deaths Linked to MRSA Superbug

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

20% Increase in Deaths Linked to MRSA Superbug

Article excerpt

Byline: REBECCA SMITH

THE NUMBER of death certificates involving the deadly hospital superbug has risen by a fifth, new figures show.

Although experts cannot always be certain if a person died from the infection, it is often put on the death certificate if the patient had the bug at the time they died.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show MRSA was mentioned on 1,168 death certificates in 2004 - up from 955 in 2003.

It is now on two out of every 1,000 death certificates in England and Wales.

This rises to three in every 1,000 where patients died in NHS hospitals or nursing homes.

In deaths in other places it was mentioned on fewer than one in 1,000 certificates.

Greater awareness of MRSA may have made doctors more likely to record its presence.

But campaigners have called for a widespread study to found out exactly how many people are dying from healthcareassociated infections.

Latest figures suggest about 5,000 people a year die from MRSA and other bugs caught in hospitals and care homes, but it is feared the real number may be much higher.

The Government is sending hit squads into hospitals where there are high rates of infection. Doctors' leaders warned last week that medics should not wear ties as they may spread bugs from one patient to another.

Michael Summers, chairman of the Patients Association, said: "We are disappointed by these new figures. It is clear MRSA and hospital-acquired infections are winning the war in many of our wards. …

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