Researchers at St George's, University of London have blamed the increased use of antibiotics, and not dirty hospitals, for the spread of MRSA superbug.
The research by St George's, University of London, dispels the belief that dirty hospitals were the cause of the deadly infection.
"We were surprised by our findings. Our research suggests we should spend more time focusing on what we believe works to reduce the spread of MRSA, which is more prudent use of antibiotics," the Daily Express quoted Dr Jodi Lindsay, who lead the 10-year study, as saying.
"Surprisingly, hygiene and hand washing, although important for many reasons, were not main factors responsible for its spread.
"We have had a big push for improved cleanliness and this has been the focus of government targets, probably because this is easy to do. However, our research shows controlling the use of antibiotics is a better way to reduce MRSA," she said.
She warned that routine infections and major surgery could become life threatening "within a generation."
The findings are published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.