View Comments

A Seven News right to information investigation has revealed a deadly bug is on the rise in Queensland hospitals.

Doctors are reverting to basic measures like hand-washing and hospital-cleaning to ward off a dangerous new strain.

When Phil Watt had a knee replaced five years ago, he didn't expect an infection to change his life. He lost his job, his mobility and his health.

"I had a great doctor, great hospital, but unfortunately post-operation I ended up with an infection," he said.

"Really slowed my life down, which has made me have some pretty bad bouts of sickness and contributed to my depression."

The bacteria was MRSA - It's a form of the bug known as golden staph that's resistant to antibiotics.

"About 20 per cent of patients with these bacteria do eventually die from the infection," said Dr David Patterson, a Royal Brisbane Hospital Infectious Diseases Consultant.

In the 12 months to June, 39 people were infected with MRSA in Queensland hospitals. In the previous year 74 were affected.

But there's another bacteria in Queensland hospitals that has health authorities worried. Clostridium difficile is deadly too - and more patients are being infected.

"We're very concerned about this bacteria, partly because of the international hyper-virulent, very nasty strain of C. Diff," Dr Patterson said.

"this infection only ever occurs if you receive antibiotics, therefore if you get antibiotics unnecessarily, that provides an unnecessary risk."

In the year to June the number of Queensland patients who contracted Clostridium difficile almost doubled to 304 from 161.

Preventing infection now focuses on hand-washing, cleaning hospitals more thoroughly and stopping the use of unnecessary antibiotics.

But experts say funding for pathology and research is just as important for treatment and prevention.

"It's no use having a trained physician and medical staff attending patients if we don't know what the bug is and we don't know what the correct treatment is," said Mark Walker of Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre.