Superbug-related deaths hit at least 15-year Wales low

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Deaths involving some of the most-common superbugs have hit their lowest levels in Wales for at least 15 years, official figures have shown.

Statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show downward trends in deaths involving MRSA, C. difficile and Staphylococcus aureus continued in 2016.

The number of death certificates which mentioned MRSA hit a 22-year low.

The Welsh Government said it reflected "overall progress" NHS Wales has made.

There were 10 death certificates in which MRSA was mentioned in 2016, according to the ONS figures - the lowest since the 14 equivalent deaths in 1994.

In 2013, there was the first rise in the number of deaths involving C. diff in Wales since 2008.

However, the latest ONS data show there were 79 deaths with C. diff mentioned on the death certificate in 2016 - the lowest number since 2001.

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image captionThere is a wealth of good practice information for healthcare organisations wanting to cut infection rates, the Welsh Government has said

Earlier this year, Staphylococcus aureus was named in a list of the world's most dangerous superbugs.

But the number of deaths in Wales in 2016 which were linked to the bacterium via mentions on a death certificate was at its lowest since 1994, according to the latest figures.

The drops come after experts have repeatedly warned that society is on the cusp of a "post-antibiotic era", in which some infections could become untreatable.

The Welsh Government said it was taking steps to strengthen infection prevention and to improve antibiotic prescribing through its Antimicrobial Resistance Delivery Plan, which was issued in March.

A spokesman said: "The fall in the number of deaths reflects the overall progress being made by NHS Wales in reducing healthcare associated infections.

"The fight to prevent avoidable infections is multi-faceted and challenging but there is a wealth of evidence, national guidance and good practice for healthcare organisations to draw upon.

"Patients and the public expect to receive healthcare in a safe environment and we are doing everything we can to ensure that NHS Wales provides this."

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