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C diff cases fall among over 65s

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Fewer patients over 65 are contracting Clostridium difficile in hospital, although increasing numbers of people between the ages of 15 and 65 in Scotland are suffering from it.

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The figures, for the period between July and September 2009, have been released as one of a series of quarterly reports into infections by Health Protection Scotland.

In total, 805 people above the age of 65 caught C. diff, a drop of 191 on the previous three-month period and 628 fewer than the same quarter in 2008. It is the sixth consecutive quarterly drop in rates since the beginning of 2008 and represents the lowest overall rate measured so far.

The rate of MRSA infections has fallen to a record low, according to another report. Only 101 people fell victim to MRSA in the last quarter of 2009, down from 44 in the third quarter of last year.

The data on C. diff in pensioners has been measured since 2006, while the Scottish Government has collected data on the rate of MRSA cases since 2002.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “I congratulate NHS boards on the hard work that has been done by NHS staff to help bring infections down, but there can be no room for complacency. Maintaining this progress will be challenging but it is essential that we do just that.”

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