Editorial on why infection surveillance matters even more in 2012


Intravenous literature: Cooper, T. (2012) Knowledge is power: why infection surveillance matters even more in 2012. Journal of Infection Prevention. 13(3), p.73.


I believe it was Sir Francis Bacon who is quoted as being the first to say ‘knowledge is power,’ back in the 1500s. I am convinced that this is even truer today than it was when hewas alive. We live in the age of the global internet where infor- mation is only the click of a mouse away. The problem we have is there is no quality control on the internet, so copious amounts of information (much of which is inaccurate) can be retrieved and quoted as fact.

This extends to infection-related information – meticillin resist- ant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteraemia data is increasingly misquoted as MRSA data, with communications teams, senior members of hospital staff, and members of the public proudly reporting their trust has had no cases of MRSA for three months/six months/a year. The reality is that these organisations are still seeing cases of MRSA colonisation, and non-bacteraemia infections. There is no doubt that massive improvements in the overall infection rate due to MRSA have been achieved in the past decade, but the remaining burden is perhaps hidden by the mis- quoted good news on MRSA bacteraemia.

The vision of the Infection Prevention Society is that no person is harmed by a preventable infection, and we remain a long way from that aspirational vision despite the amazing progress made in recent years. If we are to continue moving towards that outcome, we need continuously to generate and access accurate information that informs our knowledge base in relation to healthcare associated infections (HCAI).

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