West Lincoln Memorial Hospital

C. difficile rates plummet in Canadian hospitals

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Clostridium difficile rates in Canadian hospitals dropped 36 per cent between 2009 and 2015, a new study has revealed.

The report, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that infection rates for the bacterium peaked in 2011 at 6.7 cases per 10,000 patient days but dropped to 4.3 cases per 10,000 patient days in 2015, a 35.8 per cent decrease.

Referencing data from 53 hospitals across Canada, the researchers believe the improvement in  infection control measures since the initial outbreak of C. difficile has led to the stark drop.

The bacterium initially came to the fore in Canada 15 years ago, however more stringent policies – such as frequent hand washing for staff and deep cleaning for facilities, has led to the drop in rates.

C. difficile is a recurring bacterial infection of the colon that causes debilitating diarrhea.

The study also revealed that the NAP1 strain of the bacteria, which in the past had led to some of the most severe cases, has become less dangerous.

Previously, the NAP1 strain has led to patients having to be admitted to intensive care. In some cases it led to death.

The researchers recommended continued infection control vigilance, including strengthening of environmental cleaning, to continue the downward trend of C. difficile infection rates.

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