Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The government is reporting a rare encouraging sign about a hard-to-treat "superbug."
It says the rate of dangerous staph infections in hospital intensive-care units dropped dramatically over a 10-year period ending in 2007. The fall off was nearly 50%.
An infectious disease specialist not involved in the study say it's an indication that medical personnel may be "starting to get a toehold" on fighting the staph germ known as MRSA (mers-sah). The bacteria can't be treated with common antibiotics and causes more than 90,000 serious infections and 18,000 deaths nationwide each year.
The study authors say doctors and nurses are likely working harder to prevent its spread. Among the basic steps are frequent hand-washing and sterilizing instruments.
The research appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association. An editorial in the journal calls the report evidence of substantial, but limited, progress.