The bacterium is, however, dangerous to anyone who is ill or who has had an operation - making hospital patients particularly vulnerable.The most common way the infection is spread in hospitals is by a member of the medical staff touching a patient who has the bacteria on their skin, then - without ensuring their hands are absolutely clean - moving on to another patient and passing on the bug into a wound.However, a case of resistance to this drug was reported at University College Hospital in London last month.
Doctors or nurses squeeze the gel on to their hands and rub them together for 15 seconds until the hands are dry. In a survey of 56 NHS Trusts last year, hospital bosses admitted that equipment is routinely left uncleaned and that doctors fail to wash their hands.
Research funded by the European Commission names Britain as the worst country in Europe for MRSA infections.
The proportion of MRSA septicaemias is 15 times greater than in the safest countries - Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland.
If the bacteria can move from the gut to the bloodstream - perhaps via a piece of equipment - an infection may occur.
Clean surgery is something like orthopaedic or cardiac, where the risk of infection ought to be much lower.