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New Report Shows High C-difficile Infection Rates in U.S. Hospitals
Date:11/11/2008

First Large Scale Study Finds 73% Are From Health Care Facilities

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumers Union called on hospitals today to take more aggressive steps to protect patients from Clostridium difficile (C.-diff.) infections in light of a new report showing that they are much more common than previous estimates had indicated. As the rate of hospital acquired C.-diff. infections has jumped in recent years, an increasing number of patients have developed antibiotic-resistant strains of the infection that are more difficult to treat and more deadly.

The report released by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) found that 13 out of every 1,000 patients or approximately 7,178 inpatients on any one given day were infected or colonized with C.-diff (94.4 percent were infected). The rate is 6.5 to 20 times higher than previous incidence estimates that were based on more limited data. The report estimated that on any given day these infections cost between $17.6 million to $51.5 million and kill between 165 and 438 patients.

The APIC report is based on a survey of infection control professionals from 648 health care facilities throughout the country who collected data about all of their patients with C.-diff. infections on one day between May and August 2008.

"C-diff. infections are much too common in our nation's hospitals and threaten the health of thousands of patients every year," said Lisa McGiffert, Director of Consumers Union's Stop Hospital Infections Campaign (http://www.StopHospitalInfections.org). "Most hospitals aren't doing enough to protect patients from these deadly, preventable infections."

C.-diff. bacteria is released into the hospital environment in feces. It is found on surfaces throughout hospitals and nursing homes and can be spread to patients through hand contact. In one stu
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SOURCE Consumers Union
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