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100,000 Americans die each year from an infection caught from their doctor

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Most of the deaths happen in hospital; around 75,000 patients die in a US hospital every year from an infection from a doctor or nursing staff. Overall, 722,000 hospital patients pick up an infection from staff in the US every year – that’s around one in every 25 patients – including 30 per cent of all patients in intensive care units (ICUs).

And it’s all so avoidable, say researchers from the Roy J and Lucille A Carver College of Medicine in Iowa. Hospital staff just have to wash their hands, especially if they’re moving from a ‘dirtier’ to a ‘cleaner’ environment.

But observing staff in intensive care units for nine months, only 43 per cent were washing their hands after working in a ‘dirtier’ environment, the researchers noted. And the rate dropped further still when staff were wearing surgical gloves.

(Source: proceedings of the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, Amsterdam, April 15, 2019)

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