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MRSA infections 'at lowest level'

Cases of the superbug MRSA are at a record low, figures have shown.

Data from the Health Protection Agency confirmed fewer than 100 infections in a single month across NHS trusts in England.

Labour introduced mandatory surveillance of hospital infections in 2001 after an outcry over the number of patients contracting MRSA and another bug Clostridium difficile (C diff).

This latest data showed 25 acute trusts have now been free of MRSA for the last year.

Compared with June 2010, figures for this June show MRSA bloodstream infections have fallen from 134 in the NHS to 97.

C. diff cases have fallen from 2,001 to 1,681, down 16%, continuing a downward trend.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "I have been calling for a zero-tolerance approach to avoidable healthcare-associated infections since 2004.

"Now, just over one year into the coalition government, MRSA bloodstream infections in the NHS are at their lowest level since records began with fewer than 100 infections in a single month for the first time.

"What's more, 25 trusts have been MRSA-free for more than a year, proving that with tough infection control measures we can eradicate avoidable infections from the NHS altogether.

"This sustained pattern of falling infections across the health service is good news.

"However, the variation between the very best in the country and the very worst is still unacceptably high.

"So while progress has been made, we must do better to shrink this gap and improve standards for all."