527ba1823f688210VgnVCM200000e66411acRCRDapproved/thenational/Articles/Migration/2009-Q1Two culprits427ba1823f688210VgnVCM200000e66411ac____Two culpritsThe two most common infections acquired in hospitals are the bacteria MRSA and C.difficile.<p>The two most common infections acquired in hospitals are the bacteria MRSA and C.difficile.
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium, or germ, which is carried harmlessly by many people but can cause infections. Some strains develop resistance to methicillin, a type of penicillin, and these are known as MRSA - methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
MRSA is generally passed on by touch, which is why cleanliness is so important, especially around patients with wounds or catheters. Doctors, nurses, visitors and anyone coming into contact with any patient should wash their hands thoroughly and wear surgical gloves.</p>
<p>MRSA does not usually affect healthy people but it can be deadly to patients whose immune system is already compromised, causing pneumonia, septicaemia and toxic-shock syndrome. Treatment is with antibiotics, given intravenously.
Clostridium difficile is a bacterium that causes a number of ailments, from diarrhoea and fever to more life-threatening conditions. It usually affects older adults in hospitals and long-term care centres, and typically strikes after a patient takes antibiotics; withdrawal of these is normally enough but a course of another antibiotic may be needed. Naturally present in the gut, like MRSA it rarely affects healthy people.</p>
<p>C.difficile is extremely contagious, but its spread can also be prevented by good hygiene.
* The National</p>