Pathogen Alert

by Staff

Clostridium difficile.

The name might be unfamiliar, but the pathogen is on the rise. There has been a sharp increase in the prevalence of C. diff in hospitals around the country, according to a survey taken in 648 hospitals in 47 states.

As many as 13 out of every 1,000 patients tested positive for Clostridium difficile, with 94% showing symptoms of the accompanying disease: diarrhea, fever, appetite loss, nausea, and stomach pain. About 4% of patients will die from the disease.

How does this compare to C. diff levels in the past? Between 2000 and 2005, the number has more than doubled.

This may be partially due to prescription techniques. C. diff isn’t affected by most antibiotics, so broad spectrum antibiotics, which kill all other bacteria, give C. diff room to grow and thrive. Whenever possible, physicians should prescribe narrowly targeted antibiotics, to prevent C. diff from expanding unchecked.

Based on an article by Jacob Goldstein in the WSJ

02. December 2008 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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