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A new superbug is stalking the world


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A new superbug is stalking the world

IF YOU are unfortunate enough to catch it, you will suffer from intractable diarrhoea with gut-searing pain and fever. If you are frail, you may die. Should you survive, you may be stricken by repeated bouts of sickness. Although methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is more famous, Clostridium difficile is a superbug to be reckoned with. Like many other infections caught in hospital, it is increasingly becoming resistant to treatment with antibiotics.

Rates of the disease among patients in, or recently discharged from, American short-stay hospitals seem to have doubled between 2000 and 2003 and risen another 25% in 2004, the most recent year for which estimates are available. That translates into at least 225,000 new cases a year, according to the Centres for Disease Control, a government agency based in Atlanta, Georgia. As this number does not capture all of America's hospitals and ignores its nursing homes, the real figure is probably at least 500,000 cases a year.

The full extent of the illness is unclear because American hospitals are not required to report it. Even when someone with the disease dies, his death certificate may not say he had it.

Worryingly, the disorder is now being found in people who have not stayed in hospital. This new sort of case includes 48 pregnant women, one of whom died along with her fetus; others miscarried. Some of the people who seem to have caught the disease outside hospital had recently been on antibiotics; early studies suggest that others may have picked up the disease from eating infected animals or by taking medicines to combat heartburn and indigestion.

Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada and Japan have been grappling with the problem, too. In Britain since January 2004, all health-care facilities in National Health Service trusts

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Good thing to email out.  All in my address book.

Thanks  ROM-DOS


yeah, it makes me think twice about going to hospitals, . . .sad

                                                      ~ ROM-DOS

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