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C. difficile epidemic should concern not only hospital patients but people at home
Date:6/16/2014

Without proper infection prevention in hospitals, and now homes, the Clostridium difficile bacteria poses a major health threat, cautions a Case Western Reserve University infection control researcher.

While mainly a concern in hospitals, cases of the C. difficile infection (or C. diff) are on the rise in the community, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that has seen increased reports of the infected people who have had no contact with hospital patients with the infection. The CDC reported 7.6 people out of 100,000 who had no contact with people with C. diff were getting sick with the illness.

It particularly infects healthy people, and particularly pregnant women, said Irena Kenneley, a Case Western Reserve clinical nurse specialist in infection control and associate professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

Symptoms of C. diff include continual bouts of diarrhea, severe cramps, swollen stomach and intestinal irritation.

Potentially, the bacteria's toxins can cause ulcers and eventually eat through intestine walls, which allows infection to enter the blood.

Kenneley's American Journal of Nursing article, "Clostridium difficile Infection Is on the Rise," focuses on evidence-based steps recommended by the CDC that nurses and other health care workers, including those who prepare and deliver food, clean facilities or make deliveries, can take to confine the bacteria in hospitals and other settings where someone shows symptoms of the infection. And similar precautions apply at home.

"The article delivers practical advice to nurses and nurse practitioners on infection prevention and control activities in any setting," Kenneley said.

Based on CDC guidelines, she recommends:

  • Isolating the patient (or, if possible, the person at home) when symptoms appear;
  • Appropriate and timely lab
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Contact: Susan Griffith
susan.griffith@case.edu
216-368-1004
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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