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.