The data shows the number of Clostridium difficile infections fell by 32% compared with the same quarter last year.
However there was an expected seasonal rise of 6% compared with the previous quarter, according to the Health Protection Agency figures.
This means that the NHS is close to achieveing a target of halving MRSA rates by March 2008, set by former health secretary John Reid nearly four years ago.
In the year ended in March 2004, there were 7,700 cases, compared with 4,438 cases in the year ended March 2008.
The government will assess the data from the following quarter to decide whether or not it has achieved the target.
Health secretary Alan Johnson said: ‘Our strategy is clearly having an impact, with our challenging target to reduce MRSA by half now within touching distance, but this is not an issue we can be complacent about and we will continue to focus our efforts on reducing infections further.’