This medical health video show s ways of fighting infections.
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Jennifer Matthews: Johns Hopkins Doctor Trish Perl is a leader in the fight against hospital infections. Dr. Trish M. Perl: Some of them are more of an inconvenience, but some of them can actually be fatal. Jennifer Matthews: Among those potentially fatal infections are staph infections. About 30 percent of us carry a harmless form of it in our noses. But, if you need surgery, it can turn dangerous. Dr. Trish M. Perl: If you're colonized with this organism, you are anywhere from seven- to nine-times more likely to develop an infection after surgery. Jennifer Matthews: She studied the antibiotic bactroban when it was rubbed in patients' noses before surgery. The result was a nearly 50 percent reduction in infections among carriers of the bacteria. Doctor John Alverdy is targeting another lethal infection, pseudomonas. Dr. John Alverdy: It is the single most fatal organism you can get in a hospital. Jennifer Matthews: He developed a protective coating that he injects into the intestines. Dr. John Alverdy: We developed a polymer that, when placed in the intestine, does not disturb the ecosystem of the intestine but just provides a chemical shield. Jennifer Matthews: In mice, it was 100 percent effective. His research is quickly moving ahead. He's set to test the compound in preemies who are prone to this infection. Dr. John Alverdy: We want to use this compound as a way of making the formulas that we use a little bit more like breast milk. Jennifer Matthews: He hopes by strengthening those tiny defenses, he'll end up with more success stories. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.