UAE tackles MRSA ‘superbug’

HEALTH authorities in the UAE have stepped up efforts to tackle Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) after a dramatic rise in ‘superbug’ cases hit the UK last week.

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By  Rhys Jones Published  April 10, 2005

HEALTH authorities in the UAE have stepped up efforts to tackle Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) after a dramatic rise in ‘superbug’ cases hit the UK last week. The bug, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is infection resistant to antibiotics, and is blamed for 20% of deaths in hospitals every year from infections. MRSA is one of many infections picked up in hospitals, as people are at risk when their defences are low. The UAE Ministry of Health introduced an Infection Control Manual of policies and guidelines for health institutions in 2003. MRSA can exist on many healthy people’s skin without them even knowing it. But for people suffering from other conditions, MRSA can lead to death. In February, the UK’s Office for National Statistics published findings showing the number of deaths linked to MRSA doubled in four years between 1999 and 2003. As a result, the Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services (DoHMS) held the ‘Week to Combat Hospital Infections’ last week where J&J Ethicon launched a regional roadshow to present medical practitioners with the world’s first and only antibacterial suture. J&J Ethicon’s Vicryl Plus Antibacterial Suture is said to provide protection against bacterial colonisation of different sutures and creates a zone of inhibition that is effective against bacteria that most frequently cause HAIs. “Infections acquired in hospitals are a big issue in the UAE, as they are in every country,” said Hussein Chaitani, product manger, Ethicon Products. “We have had orders for our antibacterial structure from around the region, but not from the UAE as yet. By launching this product we hope to help prevent the spread of infections and MRSA in particular,” he added. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that around one in 10 hospitalised patients will acquire an infection after admission to hospital. In a move to lower the figure regionally, an Infection Control Interest Group (ICIG) was set up in Dubai late last year to better understand the issues.

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