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Hospital superbug kills 13

5th April 2007
MRSA1

Over the last three months, outbreaks of the Clostridium difficile hospital superbug has killed 13 patients.

The deaths occurred at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, Norfolk, just 65 miles away from James Paget Hospital near Great Yarmouth, where in March it was revealed that 17 patients have died from C. difficile since the beginning of December.

The bug was directly responsible for eight of the deaths at the Queen Elizabeth and was a contributing factor to the other five. A further 16 patients fell seriously ill and five needed major bowel surgery. The majority of victims at both hospitals were over 65 and no children are believed to have been affected.

The hospitals were struck by different strains of the bug, but health campaigners said that both cases highlighted the Government's failure to tackle the crisis and called on Patricia Hewitt to resign.

Clostridium difficile claims twice as many lives every year as the better-known superbug MRSA. Despite a 2004 promise by the government to halve deaths by 2008, the incidence of superbug infections has soared; figures released in March showed superbugs caused 5,436 deaths in 2005.

Campaigners have claimed that many infections are not recorded on death certificates and the true toll could be five times that amount.

 

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