C diff cases fall by a third15th January 2009
Health Secretary Alan Johnson has praised the relentless focus on tackling superbugs as figures emerged showing that cases of Clostridium difficile are continuing to fall in England.
Between July and September, there was a 19% drop in cases in the over 65s compared with the previous quarter - from 8,696 to 7,061 cases.
Mr Johnson said while the NHS was on track to meet the target, a reduction of at least 30% against the average quarter in 2007/08 would have to be sustained for four consecutive quarters.
He said: "This is very good news, and shows that the relentless focus on tackling infections has been working effectively.
"It isn't just about extra investment and tighter regulation - it's also about ensuring that everyone follows the hand-washing routine, the bare below the elbows dress code, the proper hygiene measures and responsible prescribing of antibiotics."
The Health Protection Agency said hard work by NHS staff in the fight against superbugs was paying off.
But Professor Mike Catchpole, director of the Health Protection Agency's Centre for Infections, said: "Winning against these infections will only happen if this hard work continues. Healthcare-associated infections are a global problem and remain a challenge for all of us."
NHS trusts have a target to cut C difficile infections by 30% by 2010/11.
C difficile is a bacterium found in the gut, and over 65s can be more susceptible to the infection that has symptoms ranging from mild diarrhoea to severe inflammation of the bowel. It can occasionally be fatal.
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Title: C diff cases fall by a third
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 9840
Date Added: 15th Jan 2009