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Last Updated: Monday, 11 August, 2003, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Firm answer to fighting superbug
MRSA
The MRSA super bug
The hospital superbug MRSA could be eliminated after the development of a new drip stand.

Merthyr Tydfil-based D & A Sturgeon were asked by the town's hospital to look at ways to reduce the risk of the infection being contracted by patients from IV drip stands.

And after 18-months of research, the company believe they have found a solution and the product is now being launched on the international circuit.

As many as 5,000 people a year are dying from hospital-acquired infections, according to the National Audit Office.

And the problem of patients contracting infections while in hospital costs the NHS 1bn a year.

The development of the new drip stand means that unlike current models, which have to be cleaned by hand, each component can be sterilised at high temperatures in the hospital autoclave.

David Strugeon, the managing director of the company responsible for the new design, said: "The last decade has seen a 12-fold increase in infection by MRSA bacteria.

David Sturgeon and staff nurse Deborah Wondrum
The new drip stand can be sterilised at high temperatures

"We were asked by Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil to find ways to reduce the possibility of infection developing from IV drip stands.

"Following 18-months of research and development we have come up with a workable solution."

He explained how the product works: "The sealed stainless steel structure is designed so that microbes cannot find a hiding place as they might in open tubing.

"In addition to this preventative aspect the product can withstand serialisation temperatures of 300C," he added.

Staff at Prince Charles Hospital have welcomed this new initiative which is being trialled there.

"Technological developments such as this are of great interest to us," said Sue Elworthy, director of nursing.

"We are constantly looking at new pieces of equipment and we are keen to invest in the most up-to-date available."

Peter Mobberley, the sterile service manager at the hospital added: "This design is a big step forward because it is fully autoclavable.

"The sterilisation aspect is hugely important to us at the hospital as part of our on-going efforts to reduce hospital acquired infection," he added.

  • MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus - a strain of Staphylococcus which is resistant to one or more conventional antibiotics.

    Staphylococcus is a family of common bacteria which many people naturally carry it in their throats, and it can cause a mild infection in a healthy patient.

    There are many different strains of MRSA, with differing degrees of immunity to the effects of various antibiotics.


  • SEE ALSO:
    Q&A: MRSA 'superbugs'
    13 Dec 02  |  Health
    Superbug cases rise in Wales
    02 Jul 03  |  Wales
    Scientists employ MRSA 'enemies'
    09 Mar 03  |  Scotland


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