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UK Hospitals Must Monitor For E. coli and MSSA

Starting in 2011, hospitals in the United Kingdom will be reporting on two more types of “health care associated” infections–E coli and methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA).

UK hospital infection control teams already monitor MRSA and C difficile (CDI).

Health Minister Andrew Lansley said the expanded reporting is designed to determine how many E. coli and MSSA cases are occurring in health care settings.

E. coli infections in the UK are up by 37 percent since 2005, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).   Last year, the island nation recorded 25,532 cases of E. coli infections and 9,249 of MSSA.

UK hospitals have made some progress since monitoring MRSA and CID became mandatory.   In its most recent report, the Department of Health said:

-There was a 35 percent reduction in MRSA cases in 2009-10, taking the total number of cases down to 1,898 from the previous year’s report of 2,935.

-CDI cases were reduced by 29 percent, down to 25,604 “health care associated infections” from the previous year’s total of 36,095.

-MRSA and CDI, and beginning next year E. coli and MSSA, are “mandatory surveillance data” that the hospitals must produce on  a monthly and quarterly basis.

In making the announcement about the expanded monitoring, UK health officials said adding E. coli and MSSA to the list of infections to be tracked would not require much additional work.   The same microbiologists testing for MRSA and CID will merely add the additional tests.

UK’s National Health Service has been trying to get health care associated infections under control since hospitals have become centers for spreading the bacterial diseases.

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