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Sunday, 13 May 2007

MRSA deaths up 30-fold in decade. Hospitals commonly avoid listing it as a cause of death.

Superbug deaths up 30-fold in decade - Sunday Telegraph


"A huge rise in deaths linked to the superbug MRSA in just over a decade has been revealed in official figures.

The number of death certificates that name the infection as a "contributory factor" has soared from 51 cases in 1993 - the first year in which records were kept - to 1,629 in 2005, a 30-fold increase.

Experts and campaigners believe that even this figure is only the tip of the iceberg because many hospitals try to avoid listing MRSA as a cause of death if they can find alternative explanations."

"Dr Mark Enright, a microbiologist at Imperial College, London said: "I would expect that the death figures substantially under-report the true situation. In a lot of cases, MRSA doesn't make it on to the death certificate when it should. Instead you see organ failure, pneumonia, or sepsis.

"Often it is hard to say exactly how much of a contribution MRSA caused to the death, but there is a tendency not to include it."

Dr Enright, who accused the Government of focusing on waiting lists and NHS targets at the expense of infection control, described the rise in MRSA over the past 12 years as "startling". He said that neither the number of deaths officially linked to MRSA nor the rate of bloodstream infections provided a full picture.

"I would say bloodstream infections account for 10 per cent of the infections in total," he said. "If people tested every infection, the rate would be far, far higher.""

You can boost your immunity to infection by reducing your salt intake.

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