File under Unintended Consequences, 2

Via the BBC comes a report, from a conference hosted by the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, that some healthcare-infection experts in the UK are publicly questioning efforts to reduce hospital-acquired MRSA.

The argument is that, by focusing so tightly on MRSA, hospitals neglect other drug-resistant HAIs to such an extent that the overall rate of illness in the hospital remains approximately the same. They argue instead for a broader focus on all resistant and nosocomial organisms:

“It’s not clear that overall things have got better,” … said [Dr Mark Millar, a medical microbiologist at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and the London NHS Trust].
“Rates of E. coli are going up and it almost compensates for MRSA.
“All you’ve done is replaced one problem with another one,” he said. … “”There’s no evidence that overall we have fewer hospital infections or fewer people are dying.” (Byline: Emma Wilkinson)

This is a highly contentious debate in the US as well, with no resolution in sight. I’ve covered some aspects of it here, and there is a long point-counterpoint from Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology here and here.

Maryn

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