A government report released earlier this week shows nearly 90,000 Americans are infected each year by a drug-resistant "super bug" staph infection. Of those infected, nearly 19,000 cases end up being fatal.
Officials with the Wisconsin Hospital Association say the report is something to be concerned about, but patients should not panic. The group's Dana Richardson says the study results weren't a surprise, since doctors have known for years that the over use of antibiotics has lead to drug-resistant strains of bacteria.
While the numbers help show the scope of the problem, Richardson says patients are no more at risk than usual while they're in the hospital.
However, she says the growing number of cases showing up within the community does show the need for additional precautions outside of the hospital. Richardson says that if you're sick, you should avoid contact with people recovering from surgery or who have a weakened immune system. Hand washing, just like during cold season, can also help prevent the spread of serious infections.
Richardson says staph infections are believed to appear in less than one-percent of Wisconsin patients.