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May 26, 2011

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Warning sounded on bacterial infection

THOUGH hospitals in Shanghai have so far not detected the latest drug-resistant superbug, infection from a multi-drug resistant bacteria has become a major cause of prolonged hospitalization, rising medical costs and mortality among patients, experts told the three-day International Forum on Infection Control, which began yesterday.

Recent monitoring of local hospitals found that hospital-acquired infection is very much prevalent in the city, reaching as high as 70 percent for staphyloccocus aures which is resistant to two major antibiotics and over 50 percent for certain intestinal and lung bacteria, which are multi-drug resistance. A kind of bacteria commonly seen in intensive care units has resistance to over 60 percent of popular antibiotics.

A nationwide campaign targeting antibiotics abuse in hospitals will be launched soon, along with the promotion of a series of guidelines of antibiotics use to regulate the practice of hospitals and doctors, experts said.

Patients' safety

"Hospital-acquired infection due to multi-drug resistant bacteria has seriously impacted treatment efficacy and patients' safety," said Dr Hu Bijie from Zhongshan Hospital's hospital infection control department and director of the Shanghai Quality Control Center of Hospital Infection.

Multi-drug resistant bacteria is bacteria that is resistant to at least three antibiotics during clinical practice.

Hu cited antibiotics abuse as the main reason for the high prevalence of drug-resistant bacteria. "Multi-drug resistant bacteria spreads through contact, so the best ways to prevent their spread are hand hygiene, disinfection and reduction in sharing of medical appliances between patients. It is a must to enhance proper use of antibiotics like reducing antibiotics dosage before and after surgery and controlling the drug use period within 48 hours and conducting tests for bacteria before prescribing antibiotics."

Local hospital officials said the mechanism on monitoring antibiotics in China still lags behind the West since domestic hospitals only conduct test on patients who don't respond to antibiotics treatment, while hospitals in developed countries conduct tests on every newly hospitalized patient and launch effective measures like separation to prevent bacteria from spreading earlier.


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