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October 25, 2005

Australian Hospitals Address Superbug Threat

Recognizing increasing rates of infection by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the New South Wales (NSW) government recently held meetings to address the threat, reports The Weekend Australian. A similar meeting will be held by the Victoria government in December.

In NSW, MRSA infections totaled 4177 individual cases in 2003, and 4280 in 2004. Besides MRSA, NSW is focusing on controlling infections by vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), which affected 54 patients in 2004, and multi-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MRAB), of which there were 34 cases.

Much of the focus of the NSW summit concerned the spread of infections by poor hygiene -- many infections were spread between patients by doctors and nurses not washing their hands properly, or observing other good hand-hygiene practices. One attendee said 60 per cent of Victorian health workers did not wash hands properly between patients.


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