Hospital-acquired infections in Scotland are at a record low, new figures revealed.
Statistics from Health Protection Scotland for cases between January and March show that MRSA is down by 30% based on the same period last year, with 48 incidences recorded.
The rate of MRSA infection is also down 4% compared to the last quarter of 2011.
C. diff cases among the over 65s stood at 334, down 3% from the previous quarter, and 138 cases of the bacteria were reported in people aged 15 to 64, also down, by 13%.
Older patients are most at risk of C. diff but the younger age groups are also vulnerable to infection. Previous use of antibiotics is also a risk factor.
Symptoms include sickness and diarrhoea.
C. diff rates have been monitored in Scotland since 2006.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "Tackling healthcare associated infections (HAI) has long been one of my key priorities and these figures highlight how effective the efforts of NHS staff to drive down infection rates have been with both MRSA and C. diff cases at their lowest ever level.
"Over the past three years we have invested over £50m to help reduce HAIs, and these figures are further confirmation that the initiatives we have put in place - coupled with the efforts of health boards and hospital staff and the scrutiny of the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate - are making a difference.
"It's vital that patients have confidence in the quality of care and treatment they will receive if they need to go into hospital and this confidence should not be undermined by the fear of contracting an infection.
"While we have made significant progress in this area, there is always more to be done, and staff, patients and visitors all have a role to play in making sure good standards of cleanliness and hand hygiene are maintained as we continue our drive to reduce these infections."
New measures introduced to combat infections include more cleaning staff in hospitals, a new staff uniform for NHS workers and tough new hand hygiene policies.
People who read this story also read
- UK bases 'would have to be removed from an independent Scotland'
- Independent Scotland would have to ‘beg and borrow’ to maintain a military
- Rare letters showcase Scotland’s role in American independence
- Two young boys charged with sex attack on 11-year-old girl in playground
- Funeral of cancer-stricken child Olivia Downie to be held this week