Superbugs Threaten Hospital Patients

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US researchers added to the compulsive hand washer’s checklist of possible contaminants, citing a new study that says hyper-resistant bacteria, informally named “superbugs” can mill around hospital surfaces for weeks.

Superbugs Threaten Hospital Patients

Lending more support to the notion that persistent and thorough hand washing is the best defense against bacteria, sanitation-services company, Ecolab Inc., reported that even the strongest antibiotics are proving futile in destroying methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Dropping samples of MRSA onto keyboard covers, bed linens, and acrylic fingernails, researchers tested the life span of the superbugs. They found that the bugs lived best under the fingernails-up to eight weeks; six weeks on the computer keyboard, and five days on bed linens.

“The results of this study clearly demonstrate the need for frequent hand washing and environmental disinfection in health care settings,” said researcher Kris Owens.

Generally speaking, your garden-variety Staphylococcus aureus is common, living in 30% of the population’s skin and nose. Problems caused are usually minor and include rashes and boils. People often mistake an infection for a spider bite.

In more extreme cases, and more prevalent in hospitals, MRSA causes grave infections like necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease), resisting all antibiotics except for IV administered vancomycin.

Doctors continue to emphasize thorough hand washing with warm to hot water, anti-bacterial soap, without neglecting under the fingernails, is the best line of defense against illness.

Superbugs Threaten Hospital Patients
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