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MRSA cases see slight increase

The number of cases of MRSA across England has seen a slight increase after months of decline, according to figures.

Data released by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) showed that there were 1,087 cases of MRSA between October and December 2007 - a 0.6% rise on the previous qurater, when 1,080 cases were reported to the HPA.

Dr Georgia Duckworth, from the HPA, said the figures represented a plateau and it was hoped surveillance would show it was "not indicative of a levelling trend".

Meanwhile, figures for the bug Clostridium difficile (C diff) showed an 8% fall to 9,872 cases in patients aged 65 and over between October and December 2007, compared with the previous quarter.

However, the results could have been affected by changes to how NHS trusts report their C diff figures, HPA warned.

The agency stressed it could not be confident that the apparent reduction was an accurate reflection of the current situation.

Dr Duckworth, head of the HPA's healthcare-associated infection and antimicrobial resistance department, said: "Over the last year cases of MRSA bloodstream infection have been steadily falling.

"We would obviously like to have seen the trend continued in this quarter and hope that ongoing surveillance will show that this plateau is not indicative of a levelling trend, but we need to see next quarter's figures."

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