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Submitted by WWAY on Thu, 10/18/2007 - 9:40am.

A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that drug-resistant infections are becoming an increasingly serious health problem. Americans suffer from more than 94,000 drug-resistant infections in a single year, government researchers find in a new study. The infections were also linked to more than 18,000 deaths. The cause of the infections was staph bacteria -- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- MRSA, also known as "Mersa." This bacteria is resistant to multiple antibiotics. Staph bacteria live harmlessly on our skin but cause serious illness in the bloodstream. MRSA infections are a chronic problem in hospitals, where patients often pick up bacteria from contaminated medical equipment and staff. The new study finds that 27 percent of the infections occurred in the hospital -- and 58 percent occurred soon after the patient visited a hospital for treatments such as kidney dialysis or surgery. MRSA is becoming a problem in the community as well --14 percent of patients in the study were infected outside of the hospital. Experts say that efforts to fight these superbugs should focus on hospitals. Vigilant cleaning and hand washing should protect patients during their stay and also keep them from tracking the bacteria back out into the community.

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