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Shortly after being admitted to hospitals, 14 percent of patients' hands and nostrils are teeming with antibiotic resistant superbugs, a new study suggests.
And it's not just hospital workers that are responsible for the spread - patients are likely spreading the germs around their rooms and to one another.
Resistance - Public - Health - Concern - World
Antibiotic resistance is considered a top public health concern by the World Health Organization, as the untreatable bugs are becoming more common and could render drugs useless.
Hospitals are known to be fertile breeding grounds for dangerous superbugs, making thorough hand-washing practices more crucial than ever to patient safety.
Pair - Studies - Hospitals - Way - Resistance
But the new pair of studies suggests that hospitals have a long way to go to keep antibiotic resistance in check.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) healthcare workers only wash their hands about half as often as they should.
Result - Patients - Hospital - Contracts - Infection
Partly as a result, about one in 31 patients in a hospital contracts an infection during their stay.
It's a constant and uphill battle as patients file in with their own bacteria, and infections, are treated by doctors and nurses in close contact, and spaces shared by hundreds if not dozens of other sick and injured people.
Problem - Attempts - Solutions - Decades - Doctors
The problem is made worse by hasty attempts at solutions. For decades, doctors have been over-prescribing antibiotics to treat infections that are often viral, meaning the drugs are useless to treat them.
And even over-use of sanitizers has in fact helped bacteria 'learn' the medicines and products designed to kill them, mutating and reproducing more resistant bacteria.
Sense - Superbugs - Patients - Researchers - University
To get a sense of how superbugs were being spread to patients, researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor followed 399 patients in two of their hospitals.
Shortly after the patients were first admitted, the team swabbed their hands and nostrils for germs.
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