CASES of clostridium difficile in Scotland’s hospitals have reached a record low, official figures have revealed.
There were 270 cases where patients aged 65 or older were reported as having the bug between January and March this year, the lowest number since monitoring began.
The figures, from Health Protection Scotland, also showed that 91 patients aged 15 to 64 contracted the infection in the first three months of 2014, again the smallest total since surveillance began.
Meanwhile 32 patients were infected with MRSA in hospital in the first quarter of this year, with this the second lowest figure reported for any quarter.
Cases of C.diff in elderly patients are now 84.8 per cent lower than they were in the first quarter of 2007, when the total stood at 1,775.
There has been an even bigger drop in MRSA cases, with these down by 87.1 per cent on seven years ago, when 249 patients were affected.
Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said the figures were the result of “positive work across Scotland’s National Health Service”.
He said the hospital inspection programme was “continuing to drive up cleanliness standards” and added: “Since 2007, cases of C.diff in patients over 65 have fallen by 84.8 per cent and the number of MRSA cases has dropped by 87.1 per cent.
“Scotland is recognised as having some of the safest hospitals in the world and these new figures show the impact of coordinated efforts across the NHS in Scotland in relation to infection prevention and control and improving cleanliness standards.
“But these encouraging results should be the signal to do even more to reduce infection. That is why it is important we continue to build on, and sustain, this momentum and we will be working with boards to do exactly that.”