C. diff prevention failing to halt infection

By From page A3 | March 18, 2013

According to a press release from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), activities to stop the spread of the intestinal superbug Clostridium difficile, commonly known as C. diff, have not yielded large improvements to date.

In a recent survey of APIC members, 70 percent of infection preventionists said they had adopted additional interventions in their healthcare facilities since March of 2010, but only 42 percent had seen a decline in C. diff rates; 43 percent had seen no decline.

C. diff is thought to be a healthcare-associated bacterial infection that kills 14,000 Americans each year. Contracting the infection is commonly due to overusing antibiotics and being in an environment where C. diff spores are present, usually a hospital or long-term care facility.

The survey was conducted among APIC members with the findings presented at an APIC conference on March 11 in Baltimore, Md.

According to APIC, “Because C. difficile spores can survive in the environment for many months, environmental cleaning and disinfection are critical …”  At the same time, “antimicrobial use is one of the most important risk factors” for C. diff, leading the organization to promote “judicious use of antimicrobials …”

The Mountain Democrat covered this subject in April of last year. The experience of Placerville resident, Cierra Baumunk, was described in several articles that detailed her struggle to obtain an accurate diagnosis and subsequent treatment for C. diff.

Dawn Hodson

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