The Health Service was put on red alert yesterday after nearly 400 cases of infection by deadly superbugs were identified in hospitals.
At least five deaths have been linked to the strains of bacteria that are resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics.
Some of the infected patients were health tourists who imported the bacteria after surgery in India and Pakistan.
The Health Protection Agency today issued new guidance to infection control specialists and microbiologists about tackling infections resistant to carbapenem antibiotics – widely regarded as all but the last line of defence against bacteria already resistant to standard drugs.
Latest figures from the HPA show 383 cases of infections caused by resistant strains of the bacteria Klebsiella and E.Coli between 2003 and the end of 2010.
These cases include hospital pneumonias, urinary infections or blood poisoning.