World News and Trends: Superbug deaths increase greatly

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Superbug deaths increase greatly

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In the United Kingdom, "a huge rise in deaths linked to the superbug MRSA [a staph germ] in just over a decade has been revealed in official figures" (The Sunday Telegraph, May 13, 2007).

A mere 51 cases in 1993 mushroomed to 1,629 in 2005, a 30-fold increase. This is most probably a very low estimate as most hospitals are very reluctant to assign MRSA as the cause of death, preferring to put forward any alternative explanation if remotely possible.

An earlier report in The Guardian (Feb. 23, 2007) listed 5,436 deaths from MRSA and another superbug called Clostridium difficile. Hospital health inspectors are currently urging greater priorities in patient safety.

Across the Atlantic in Chicago, "drug-resistant staph infections have spread to the urban poor, rising almost seven-fold in recent years in some Chicago neighborhoods" (Associated Press, May 28, 2007). Crowded conditions in public housing and jails apparently aid and abet this type of infection. Other American cities are experiencing similar increases in superbug infections.

The AP report suggests the following precautions: "To prevent staph's spread, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer, keeping cuts clean and covered with a clean bandage until healed, avoiding contact with other people's wounds and bandages and avoiding shared personal items such as towels and razors." This is obviously plain and practical common-sense advice.

Further, we should all take responsibility for our own health by avoiding harmful addictions, maintaining a decent diet, exercising reasonably for our age bracket and keeping a sound mental attitude. For more detailed health advice based on biblical principles, consult our free booklets Making Life Work and What Does the Bible Teach About Clean and Unclean Meats? (Sources: The Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian, Associated Press.)