Every year, well over half a million people come down with infections during hospital visits, with 75,000 dying from them. Part of the problem is the ease at which bacteria can spread at hospitals, with sick people flowing into where compromised people already are. Many treatments weaken immune systems, allowing the bacteria to fester at a rapid pace. This also allows for super bugs to grow resistance to medications while killing off a person’s protective bacteria.
Two leading super bugs, Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), take forefront in medication resistance. They are both common and deadly in the medical world, with C. diff causing 60,000 infections and 8,000 deaths annually, and MRSA causing 290,000 infections and 27,000 deaths annually. Both are showing increased resistance to antibiotics. This is due to the over prescribing of the few medications that should only be used for super bugs. This overdependence allows bacteria to grow resistance, and as a result, doctors are left with nothing else to substitute.
In the U.S., only 357 hospitals were able to claim no infections for C. Diff, with 322 holding that claim for MRSA. According to the American Hospital Association, there are 5,686 registered hospitals in the United States. Most hospitals that have MSRA/C. Diff problems are big name hospitals, such as John Hopkins, and are predominately teaching hospitals. While these hospitals may have a more rigorous reporting policy, it is generally believed that teaching hospitals hold a higher risk, as seen in the July Effect, where new medical professionals in training are being eased into their careers. Overall, larger hospitals have a higher rate of exposure due to larger intake but have problems isolating outbreaks when they happen.