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Scottish MRSA rate at 'lowest levels since records began'

MRSA and MSSA infections are at their lowest levels in Scotland since records began in 2005, official figures suggest.

Statistics from Health Protection Scotland shows MRSA (meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) cases decreased from 73 to 48 (34.3%) during the past year, with a 7.7% reduction during April and June alone.

Overall, MRSA cases have fallen by 80.7% when compared to March 2007 when infection rates were at their highest (249).

The number of MSSA (meticillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus) cases also fell last year from 345 to 335 (2.9%).

However, Clostridium difficile (C.diff) infections increased from 378 to 387 cases (2.4%) during 2011 in patients aged 65 and over and from 160 to 164 cases (2.5%) in patients aged 15 to 64.

The rise is not said to be "statistically significant" as it represents a decrease from 575 case (32.7%) and 204 (19.6%) in the past 12 months respectively.

"We are absolutely determined to tackle healthcare associated infections and have already invested more than £50m over the past three years," said Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon.

"But we need to maintain the pace of improvement to keep bringing the number of infections down.