The emergence, world wide, of multiple antibiotic
resistant bacteria over the last twenty years, has become one
of the most serious threats to the control and successful
treatment of infection. The most important causative factors
identified are, selection of resistant micro-organisms by over
use of antibiotics, and spread of these organisms in places
like hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities.
The commonest antibiotic resistant bacteria encountered in
Irish hospitals is Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus
aureus (MRSA). This is capable of causing serious infection
in certain hospitalised patients, particularly surgical
patients. Treatment of such infections require the use of
potentially toxic and very expensive antibiotics. Hospitals
throughout the country have devoted a large amount of time,
effort, and resources to controlling the spread of MRSA
amongst patients and staff in order to prevent infection.