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Nurses must stay vigilant to MRSA risk during swine flu pandemic

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Nurses must remain vigilant to the risks of MRSA during the swine flu pandemic, infection control nurses have warned.

RCN infection control advisor Rose Gallagher urged nurses to “keep their eye on the ball” and not become “complacent” about MRSA as the number of cases continues to increase.

“As with any winter period, there is an increase in respiratory infections which sometimes do develop secondary infections as normal course. Nurses need to remain as vigilant as ever [to the risk of MRSA] and continue with good infection control practice. They must not assume things are cut and dried,” she said.

A second wave of swine flu could see a significant rise in the number of hospital admissions and bed occupancy rates during the winter period, increasing the risk of patients contracting infections such as MRSA.

Infection Prevention Society president Martin Kiernan warned that nurses must remain alert to the possibility of other infections, and not assume that a patient has swine flu.

“The NHS is very switched on about MRSA and has done very well in reducing rates of infection. However, I am concerned that cases of MRSA may be missed if nurses are looking for swine flu, as we have already seen happen with meningitis,” he said.

In August, a 48 year old women from Leicester died from meningitis days after being misdiagnosed with swine flu.

 

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