- LONDON (Reuters) - Drug-resistant
superbugs can be spread around hospitals on fabric used for clothes, curtains
and other items, the New Scientist magazine said Wednesday.
- Research by scientists at the Shriners Hospital for Children
in Cincinnati in Ohio showed that the superbug staphylococci survived up
to seven weeks on polyester and up to three months on polyethylene.
- Enterococci, which can resist the most potent antibiotic
vancomycin, survived even longer.
- Scientists Alice Neely and Matthew Maley tested 22 strains
of bacteria on different fabrics found in hospitals where infections can
cause serious illness and death.
- ``Most bacteria tested in this study survived longer
on polyester than on cotton,'' the researchers told the magazine.
- ``Staphylococci and enterococci survived from days to
months on this fabric, suggesting such drapes could act as reservoirs for
these bacteria,'' they added.
- Most hospital-acquired infections are thought to spread
from poor hygiene and dirty instruments. The research opens up the possibility
of new sources of infections.
- A recent report by Britain's National Audit Office estimated
that infections caught in hospitals could be killing 5,000 people each
year and costing the state-run National Health Service (NHS) one billion
pounds ($1.6 billion) annually in increased hospital stays and treatment.
- In the United States the Center for Disease Control estimates
that each year two million people become infected in hospital and around
80,000 people die.
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