1. ITV Report

Scientists aim to stop MRSA outbreaks

Scientists in labs at Addenbrooke's Hospital Photo: ITV Anglia

Scientists at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge are developing a revolutionary device to help stop the spread of MRSA infections on wards.

It will use DNA profiling to spot bacteria. An early test-run of the new technology even prevented an outbreak of the superbug on a special care baby unit in our region.

The research taking place could be one of the biggest steps towards eradicating serious outbreaks of the MRSA superbug.

Scientists here have developed techniques to quickly analyse the genetic code of the bacteria.

And they've already prevented a serious outbreak among babies at the Rosie Maternity Unit

At its most serious MRSA can cause blood poisoning. More than 7,000 such cases were recorded in hospitals in the UK between 2001 and 2002 but it's thought improved hygiene over the last decade is one of the reasons why that figure's now dropped to just over a thousand.

It's anticipated that figure could be further reduced using the gene sequencing techniques developed at Addenbrooke's.

With the types of anti-biotic resistant bacteria increasing all the time its thought the technology could be more widely used.

Providing a means of identifying and dealing with not only MRSA outbreaks but the drug resistant superbugs we are likely to encounter in the future.