Minister for Health, Mary Harney, has told the Dáil that although hygiene is a contributing factor in the spread of the MRSA bacterium, the main factor is the over-prescribing of anti-biotics.

Ms Harney was responding to question from Sinn Fein's Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin during Minister's Questions. 

Mr Ó Caoláin said that the full extent of fatalities from MRSA is not being reported.

Ms Harney said a closer examination of MRSA was revealing more cases.