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Canadian doctors used the opportunity of a move to a new hospital building to test whether moving from shared rooms to single-patient rooms reduced the spread of superbugs.

A Montreal hospital moved from an older facility with ward-type rooms to a new facility with all private rooms and this analysis examined whether that was associated with reductions in multidrug-resistant organism colonization and health care-associated infections.

In research just published in JAMA, the doctors outline how they found the new hospital had significantly fewer superbugs three years after the move.

But just finding bacteria in a room doesn’t necessarily mean it can infect a patient and the number of infections following the move was less clear cut as it dropped for some bugs but remained the same for others like MRSA.

The authors concluded that their research findings may have important implications for the role of hospital construction in facilitating infection control.

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