CDC reports C. difficile infections at historic high
ADVANCE for LTC Management
regularly features articles on infection control. Many of those articles have mentioned C. difficile infections in the past. And C. diff, as it's known in the infection control vernacular, is in the news yet again: In fact, the CDC has issued a report
that C. diff infections are at record-high rates in health care facilities.
The report indicates that C. diff infection rates rose from 3,000 deaths per year during 1999-2000 to 14,000 deaths per year during 2006-2007. Much of that increase is due to the emergence of a highly virulent, drug-resistant strain of C. difficile bacteria. More than 90 percent of those who died from C. difficile infection were 65 or older.
To guard against the spread of C. diff infections, the report urges health care facilities to coordinate efforts to combat the bacteria in the region, as infection often begins in one facility, but gets transferred--along with patients--to other facilities, according to this article from The Washington Post.
To keep C. diff infections at bay, the report recommends judicious use of antibiotics and prevention efforts, which include handwashing and always wearing gloves and changing them in between patients.
It's also important to thoroughly clean surfaces with an agent specifically designated as effective against C. difficile because many strains are resistant to commonly used disinfectants, according to the report.
Health care communities that have used these prevention efforts reduced C. diff infection rates by 20 percent, according to the report.