Fabrics Could Be
Source Of Hospital
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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