New figures show MRSA and MSSA infections are at their lowest level, with further reductions between the second and third quarter of 2011.
The figures from Health Protection Scotland show MRSA cases decreased from 52 to 48 (7.7 per cent), and compared with the same period last year (Q3) cases were down from 73 to 48 (34.3 per cent). This is a reduction of over 80.7 per cent compared with the first quarter (January - March) in 2007 (when 249 cases were reported).
The number of MSSA cases decreased from 345 to 335 (2.9 per cent) from the second to third quarter of 2011.
Clostridium difficile infections in patients aged 65 and over increased slightly from 378 cases in the second quarter to 387 cases in the third quarter of 2011 (2.4 per cent), although this is not considered by Health Protection Scotland to be statistically significant and represents a decrease from 575 cases (32.7 per cent) from the same period last year. This is the third lowest number of cases since surveillance began in 2006. When compared with the first quarter (January - March) in 2007 there is a decrease of 78.2 per cent - down from 1775 cases to 387 cases.
Clostridium difficile infections in patients aged 15 to 64 increased slightly from 160 to 164 between the second and third quarter of 2011 (2.5 per cent) - again, not considered by HPS to be statistically significant - and decreased from 204 cases in the same period last year (19.6 per cent).
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:
"There have been further reductions in cases of MRSA and MSSA in Scotland - achieving the lowest ever level since records began in 2005.
"We are absolutely determined to tackle healthcare associated infections and have already invested more than £50 million over the past three years.
"But we need to maintain the pace of improvement to keep bringing the number of infections down.
"While there has been a small increase in Clostridium difficile cases, it is not statistically significant and the level is the third lowest since surveillance began in 2006. Significant reductions have been achieved in the last four years, with a 78.2 per cent decrease in cases compared to the first quarter in 2007."
MRSA (meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a common skin bacterium that is resistant to a range of antibiotics. MSSA (meticillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus) infections can be more easily treated by antibiotics.