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Hospital Patients at Risk

June 26, 2007

Staph Infections Rampant

As many as 1.2 million hospital patients are infected with dangerous, drug-resistant staph infections each year, almost 10 times more than previous estimates, based on findings from a major new study.

And 48,000 to 119,000 hospital patients a year may be dying from methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, far more than previously thought, the study suggests.

The Tribune obtained the results during the weekend from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control & Epidemiology (APIC), which is releasing the report publicly on Monday.

The author is Dr. William Jarvis, former acting director of the hospital infections program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings come amid mounting public concern about the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in health-care facilities and community settings. Medical experts consider the rise of so-called superbugs such as MRSA, a leading cause of deadly blood infections and pneumonias, one of the most alarming public health threats in the nation.

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