RATES of the "superbug" MRSA are still continuing to fall at York Hospital, with ten cases since April last year.

York launched a high- profile cleanliness campaign to try to cut down incidents of the bug, which can be deadly.

The Government has imposed tough targets on hospitals in an attempt to drive down rates, and York is expected to have no more than 16 cases by the end of this finance year.

York nursing director Mike Proctor, said he was pleased with the progress being made.

He said: "It's still a challenging target, we've got to have no more than 12 in a year next year. The strategy we've got to drive down cases appears to be working, but needs to continue."

But Mr Proctor added that the bug had been contributory factor in the death of one patient back in November.

The patient had been treated in York's renal unit, in Harrogate, and was discovered to have MRSA on his admission to hospital.

Rates of the bug in Harrogate are slightly above its strict Government target. By November last year, there had been seven cases there - one above its year target of six.

In Scarborough, there were also ten cases, with expected levels this finance year set at 17. There have been five incidents of the bug at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.

Bill Redlin, director of performance and delivery for North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust (PCT), said in a report to board chiefs: "The NHS in North Yorkshire and York is committed to reducing the number of MRSA infections, for which targets have been set at individual hospital trust level for 2006/7 and 2007/8.

"The PCT is actively working with its main providers and the North Yorkshire Health Protection Unit to deliver this commitment, and is facilitating a health community-wise collaborative approach to tackling MRSA.

"Performance at Harrogate, Scarborough and York trusts is currently at an acceptable level. Whilst Harrogate exceeds its trajectory, this is in the context of a very low baseline number of cases."

York has introduced stringent measures to try to eradicate infections, including the less well-known but also potentially deadly Clostridium Difficile.

Some patients are identified as more high risk of having MRSA, such as those who have been in a care home or were employed by the caring profession when they came into hospital.

Anyone who goes on to a ward is also urged to use special alcohol gel.