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C diff and MRSA rates in Scotland decrease

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C diff and MRSA rates in Scotland have fallen compared with last year, according to latest government figures.

Health Protection Scotland statistics, for October to December 2008 show there were 1,299 cases of Clostridium difficile (C diff), down 9% from 1,433 recorded in the previous quarter and 19% from 1,608 recorded the same quarter last year.

There were 157 cases of MRSA, an increase of 7% from 149 on the previous quarter, but a 24% decrease compared with the 207 during the same quarter last year.

Health minister Nicola Sturgeon said plans to continue with a national MRSA screening programme are continuing.

Pilot programmes in NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Grampian and NHS Western Isles will continue and the national programme will be modified in the light of any further evidence that may emerge.

So far, a report from the pilot programme indicates that 7.5% of admissions to the hospitals involved in the pilot were colonised by MRSA and as many as one in five of admissions to nephrology, care of the elderly, dermatology and vascular surgery were colonised.

The Scottish Government has set itself targets of reducing all Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia by 30% by 2010 and reducing C diff infections in the over 65s by 30% by 2011.

Ms Sturgeon said: ‘Health Protection Scotland’s interim evaluation of the pilot programme not only highlighted the advantages of screening planned admissions to acute specialities but also emergency patients admitted to high risk specialities. Therefore, to maximise the benefits, our MRSA screening programme will also target these patients as well as planned admissions.’

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