Sharing hospital rooms may raise the chances of catching a life-threatening infection by at least 10%, new research has found.

Patients with weak immune systems because of disease or chemotherapy easily acquire infections from other patients in shared rooms, research carried out by Queen’s University in Canada has shown.

In Canada, an estimated 225,000 hospital-acquired infections occur each year, causing 8,000 to 12,000 deaths.

Building private rooms for all patients, especially in intensive care units, is a costly but effective solution to the problem, the study found.