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What is MRSA?

MRSA is a serious hospital acquired infection, which is a form of the Staphylococcus bacterium resistant to the commonly used antibiotic methicillin. This is referred to as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus or MRSA.

There have been cases of this superbug showing resistance even to vancomycin, an antibiotic traditionally regarded as "the last line of defence".

How Dangerous is MRSA?


MRSA is the most common cause of death from a hospital-acquired infection. Only the antibiotic vancomycin is powerful enough to combat the bug - to which the old are particularly vulnerable.

It is estimated that Hospital Acquired Infections cost the NHS around £1bn per annum, affect some 100,000 patients a year and is responsible for the deaths of around 5,000 patients annually in the UK. Since 2001 when these figures were reported rates of MRSA in Britain have continued to increase at an alarming rate with some hospitals reporting secondary infection rates as high as 20%.

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MRSA Infection Rates In Europe


According to a report of the *European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance, MRSA infection rates in Britain’s hospitals are the highest in Europe where the recorded levels of the superbug are reported as "alarmingly high".

The report describes that during the first 6 months of 2001 the lowest proportions of MRSA were found in the northern European countries such as Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands. By contrast, United Kingdom, Israel and Greece reported alarmingly high proportions of MRSA.

Forty-one per cent of strains of Staphyloccus aureaus in UK hospitals were found to be antibiotic resistant compared with one per cent in Sweden and Finland and zero in the Netherlands. Israel and Greece were only slightly better than the UK with recorded levels of 44.1 per cent and 38.6 per cent respectively.

Why Belgium?

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Direct Healthcare International's MRSA Infection Control Policy


Belgium has one of the lowest rates of secondary infection in the world. In order to ensure that secondary infections and in particular MRSA, is not spread to any of our facilities we ask that you kindly adhere carefully to the following procedures and answer the following questions on the pre surgery questionnaire:

  • Does the patient have now or ever had MRSA?

  • Has the patient been an inpatient within a hospital within the past two years? If so where and when?

  • Has the patient been an inpatient in a nursing home, old peoples home, or care home in the past two years? If so where and when?

If the answer to any of the above is Yes then please be prepared to travel a few days early to allow time to carry out an oral smear test. (There may be a small additional charge for the extra stay involved and the test).

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What does the test involve?


The test is easy, painless and straightforward; a smear sample is taken from the nose and throat.


What other precautions should the patient take?


If you are undergoing joint replacement surgery please:

  • Visit your dentist beforehand to ensure that you are clear from mouth infections

  • Use the 5 days supply of uni-wash antiseptic shower gel provided by us, the week before you travel


Direct Healthcare International would like
to thank you for your understanding and participation in this matter to help us to
keep our partner hospitals infection free.

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