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Hospital Infections

Volume 448: debated on Monday 3 July 2006

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many deaths were recorded where (a) clostridium difficile-associated disease, (b) MRSA, (c) vancomycin resistant enterococci, (d) multi-resistant acinetobacter spp and (e) penicillin-resistant streptococcus pneumoniae was mentioned on the death certificate in the last year for which figures are available; and in how many cases it was also the underlying cause of death. (81691)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 3 July 2006:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many deaths have been recorded where (a) clostridium difficile associated disease, (b) MRSA, (c) vancomycin resistant enterococci, (d) multi-resistant acinetobacter spp and (e) penicillin resistant streptococcus pneumoniae was mentioned on the death certificate for the last year for which figures are available; and in how many cases it was the underlying cause of death. (81691)

The most recently available information is for deaths in 2004 in England and Wales. Figures for Clostridium difficile were published in an annual report in Health Statistics Quarterly 30 on 27 May 20061 and figures for MRSA were published in an annual report in Health Statistics Quarterly 29 on 26 February 20062. Figures for vancomycin resistant enterococci and multi-resistant acinetobacter spp are not available from routine death certification data. These are laboratory classifications of micro organisms, details of which are rarely used in describing the illnesses from which patients suffer or die.

Figures on the number of deaths involving Streptococcus pneumoniae are given in the table below for the calendar year 2004.

Numbers of deaths where Streptococcus pneumoniae was mentioned on the death certificate and the number where it was specified as penicillin resistant and the number of these mentions where it was also the underlying cause of death1, England and Wales, 20042

Number of deaths

Total mentions

222

Total mentions—specified as penicillin resistant

0

Underlying cause

161

Underlying cause— specified as penicillin resistant

0

1 Selected using the codes J13, G00. 1 and A40.3 and a text search within codes A49.1 and H66 from the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). 2 Figures are for deaths occurring in the calendar year. Source: Office for National Statistics

1 Office for National Statistics (2005) Report: Deaths involving Clostridium difficile: England and Wales, 1999-2004. Health Statistics Quarterly 30, 56-60.

2 Office for National Statistics (2005) Report: Deaths involving MRSA: England and Wales, 2000-2004. “Health Statistics Quarterly 29, 63-68.