Hospital-acquired or nosocomial infections, such as MSRA and Clostridium
difficile, have reached alarming levels around the world as resistance to
antibiotics grows. Statistics for the number of deaths due to nosocomial
infection in the Middle
East are not readily available, however in the US the Centres for Disease
Control estimates that some 99,000 deaths were attributable to hospitalacquired
infections in 2002 and in the UK it is estimated that around 8% of all
inpatients develop some form of nosocomial infection. If ICUs are included in
these stats these figures rise substantially. We report on a consortium that has
been set up in the UK to fund research that will seek a solution to these
Also in our focus on Infection Control we publish a guide issued by the WHO
(which you can cut out) outlining key elements for healthcare workers to follow
to avoid the spread of avian influenza in hospitals and clinics.
The battle against HIV-AIDS is being hampered by issues such as human rights
violations, gender inequality and stigma – issues which are particularly
prevalent in the Middle East and which were highlighted at the recent XVII
International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. Read the report on page 26.
Also in this issue you will find reports from Iraq, Yemen and Palestine as well
as interviews, comprehensive medical research news coverage and several other
news features of interest.