Deadly Infections

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A published report says drug-resistant germs are spreading from hospitals into the community because of lapses in infection control and the overuse of antibiotics.

The Chicago Tribune reports Tuesday that it identified about 4,700 cases in Illinois during 2000 in which people contracted hospital-born germs without ever going into a hospital or other medical center.

According to the Tribune, at least 200 people died last year in Illinois after contracting drug-resistant germs at home, work or during leisure activities. Some of these infections were rarely identified outside hospitals as recently as five years ago.

Mirroring a national trend, nearly half of Illinois' 305 hospitals have been cited for potentially life-threatening breakdowns of infection-control standards since 1995.