Prime Minister Theresa May’s special envoy for the U.K. ambassador said the country faces a new wave of superbug infections after officials confirmed five more cases of MRSA.
Boris Johnson told supporters that there was a “tidal wave of infections due to the strains of infections found in our hospitals.”
The prime minister’s envoy said Friday “it is getting worse,” but clarified that the recent cases are not so advanced that they have spread to wider populations.
Johnson said his own experience visiting a hospice caused him to realize the problem.
“I can’t imagine you will not also be struck down with whatever caused this outbreak,” he said.
One of the five new cases of MRSA was in an elderly hospice, but officials said that the bacteria in that patient were not HIV or other STDs.
Johnson said officials are still trying to pinpoint the source of the outbreak. He said it was “uncertain” whether the bacteria had come from outside the country or within.
The five cases brings the total number of hospital-associated cases of MRSA to 77 since the beginning of the year.
The British government introduced a “Tackling the Global Infection Surge,” or TOGIRL, plan to combat the outbreak last year. The plan involved sending in experts, gear and facilities to help contain the outbreak.
‘the risks that we are taking with respect to immunisation in our schools and from discharging people from the hospital we are doing now – without a safe fence in place on a contagious strain of infection that is difficult to control’ – Boris Johnson, U.K. special envoy for the U.K. embassy in Washington – January 18, 2018
The five new cases of MRSA were found among four different patients who were diagnosed with the illness at five different hospitals across the country.
“The risks that we are taking with respect to immunisation in our schools and from discharging people from the hospital we are doing now – without a safe fence in place on a contagious strain of infection that is difficult to control,” Johnson said.
To combat the outbreak, the government is moving to improve hygiene at hospitals across the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.