World-class scientists will today gather in Birmingham to hear how to cut infectious diseases and MRSA in the community.

Award-winning Professor Sally Bloomfield will explain her theory on how homes can be “too clean for our own good” and not allow people to get normal exposure to non-harmful bugs, leaving them more susceptible to infection.

More than 100 international members of the Society for Applied Microbiology will hear from Prof Bloomfield, the first Procter and Gamble prize winner for Europe, at Aston University.

Prof Bloomfield has created the concept of ‘targeted hygiene’, where cleaning is only used when necessary to break the infection chain.

Gastrointestinal infections and winter vomiting bug norovirus, along with other community acquired viruses have added to problems in hospitals across the region.

Up to 50 per cent of cases can be passed on through contaminated hand-surface contact.

Professor Bloomfield, who is based at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is chairman of charity the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene, said the way hygiene was done was vital as many viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics.

She added that by reducing the spread of organisms in the home, it could also limit numbers of “carriers” with MRSA and Clostridium difficile(C.diff) entering hospitals as patients.

“If infections such as food poisoning, MRSA, colds and influenza are to be contained in a manner that is economically sustainable, it has to be a responsibility which is shared by everyone,” said Prof Bloomfield.

“This is not about shifting blame, it’s about facing reality.”

She hopes to raise awareness of the role of home and community hygiene in preventing infectious disease, promote understanding of how to clean people’s homes more effectively and ensure this is based on scientific evidence. 

In the UK, one in five people living at home have impaired immunity, making them more susceptible to infection.