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Last Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007, 12:52 GMT
Hospital wins fight against MRSA
Over exposure to some antibiotics builds MRSA resistance
A hospital's head of pathology, leading the fight against superbugs, is achieving success by persuading doctors to vary the antibiotics they prescribe.

Cases of MRSA at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, Norfolk, are falling as a result.

The number of MRSA blood infections in 2003/4 was 45, dropping to 44 the following year, 17 in 2005/6 and five in the first six months of 2006/7.

Professor Lyn Liebowitz, head of pathology, joined the hospital in 2004.

She said a policy of persuading doctors to swap around the antibiotics they prescribe had brought a culture change.

Hygiene rules

"Some doctors were prescribing broad spectrum antibiotics which helped to make patients better and were not toxic.

"However, this policy had allowed the bug to build up resistance and patients became colonised with MRSA, which entered wounds and made them ill, she said.

"Although Department of Health rules prevent recommendation of particular drugs we are able to advise doctors to change and they have responded."

Professor Liebowitz is now turning her attention to Clostridium Difficile infections which has the potential to be a much more dangerous superbug with a higher mortality rate.

Part of this campaign is to persuade everyone to clean their hands when they come into the hospital, and leave.

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22 Aug 05 |  Norfolk
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