Encouraging news this month from the English National Health Service (NHS). MRSA infection rates in England were at a 10 year record low in June. What’s more, 25 NHS trusts (service segments) in England have been MRSA-free for the past 12 months.
What is England doing right?
First, the NHS requires tracking of MRSA statistics. They also compare and report the performance of hospitals at preventing infections. Mandatory tracking and reporting encourages hospitals to clean up their act and take preventable healthcare infections more seriously.
Second, MRSA statistics are published weekly so that patients and the general public can make an informed decision about which hospitals they want to visit.
Third, aggressive MRSA infection control measures have been adopted. Such measures not only reduce MRSA infection rates, they can also reverse antibiotic resistance. Evidence shows that when hospitals reduce, monitor and regulate their use of antibiotics, antibiotic resistant infection rates become lower.
And Fourth, an antibiotic awareness campaign was begun to inform people that colds and flu cannot be treated with antibiotics. Doctors often prescribe antibiotics when they are not needed. Curbing unnecessary requests by patients for antibiotic prescriptions can reduce the problem of antibiotic resistance, saving antibiotics for when they are really needed.
Fortunately, voluntary antibiotic stewardship programs are becoming more popular in the United States. Several groups, including the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), have drafted guidelines for MRSA monitoring and antibiotic stewardship to reduce healthcare infections and reverse antibiotic resistance. Such measures can reduce the severity and incidence of infections and make Staph treatment easier.
Antibiotic stewardship and infection monitoring programs work well when adopted and instituted on a large scale. Norway has one of the lowest MRSA infection rates in the world because of its progressive MRSA infection control measures. It now seems that England is on the right track too.
To your best health,
Microbiologist and Natural Health Expert