C. diff infections reach historically high rates, report finds

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While infection control strategies have helped reduce healthcare facility-acquired infections in recent years, Clostridium difficile infections have reached unacceptably high rates, a new report finds.

Estimated death rates related to c. diff infections climbed to 14,000 in 2006-2007, from only 3,000 deaths per year in 1999-2000, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitalizations associated with c. diff remain at historically high rates, at about 370,000 annually, at an added cost of $1 billion to the healthcare system, the report states.

C. diff infections cause severe diarrhea, which can be deadly in elderly people. It is particularly pervasive in nursing homes, where 75% of facility-acquired cases first show up, the CDC says. About 25% of c. diff cases first present themselves in hospitals.

To prevent new cases, the CDC advises facilities and physicians to more carefully select antibiotics, encourage workers to wear new gowns and gloves when treating C. diff patients, even during short visits.

Click here to read the CDC report.

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