Published: 21/03/2002, Volume II2, No. 5797 Page 8

The UK has the highest rate of hospital-acquired antibiotic-resistant infection in Europe, according to a study by the European antimicrobial resistance surveillance system. EARSS describes infection rates with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) as 'alarmingly high'.The first mandatory surveillance of UK trusts found a serious under-reporting of MRSA blood poisoning.Between April and September 2001, the number of cases reported rose by 33 per cent when all trusts where obliged to report for the first time.Commenting on the findings, the Liberal Democrats estimated that 4,513 voluntarily reported cases reveals that each infected patient stays in hospital for an average 14 extra days, over 11,000 operations are cancelled due to bed closures and the NHS pays nearly£12m in extra care costs.

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