THE number of cases of superbug MRSA have fallen in Yorkshire hospitals.
NHS Yorkshire and the Humber announced this week that the number of patients contracting MRSA in the region has dropped by more than a third.
From April to June this year, just 88 patients got the bug.
This is nearly 40% down on the same period in 2007, when the number of cases was 144.
It equates to just one in every 3,100 patients being infected.
A total of 91,500 people are treated in hospitals in Yorkshire every month.
The latest drop in MRSA cases builds on success in January and March, when there were 124 cases.
This was a drop in the number of infections since the same period in 2007, when the number of cases was 142.
The figures have been released by the Health Protection Agency.
Margaret Edwards, chief executive of the NHS in Yorkshire, said the drop in superbug cases was a result of hard work carried out in hospitals to beat the bug.
She said: “These latest figures are really encouraging, reflecting the huge effort the NHS is making and the real impact it’s having in reducing MRSA.
“Hospital acquired MRSA is unacceptable. Reducing the number of people who acquire it in our region is a top priority and we are committed to making the hospitals of Yorkshire a cleaner and safer place for everyone.”
She said there is more to be done in the fight against the superbug, including working with patients, visitors and staff on hygiene on wards.
There will also be efforts to combat it in the community, where many of the cases originate.
The success against MRSA in Yorkshire reflects a national fall in the number of cases of the superbug.
The Health Protection Agency figures show that MRSA bloodstream infections have fallen by 49% in the past three years.
Last year, the number of infections fell by 30% – the biggest annual reduction of the last five years.
There has also been success in tackling another problem bug on hospital wards, C.difficile.
The number of cases in April to June was 32% less than the same time last year.
Among patients aged 65 and over, however, there was a rise in the number of C.diff cases, up 6% compared with the same period last year.
Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Health, said: “The significant reduction in MRSA and C.difficile infections is a remarkable achievement, the result of the hard work and dedication of NHS staff and the right investment in staff and resources.”
Action taken has included better cleanliness, guidance on prescribing antibiotics, isolating infected patients and employing more infection control staff, with more powers.
From 2009, there will be 5,000 matrons – double the current number.
They and other hospital staff will be able to report concerns about infection control to the Care Quality Commission.
Mr Johnson added: “We are tackling infections on every front. Our strategy is clearly having an impact, with our challenging target to reduce MRSA by half now within touching distance.
“But this is not an issue we can be complacent about and we will continue to focus our efforts on reducing infections further.”