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Super Bug Turns Super Killer

For a while, road accidents were the biggest killers. Now it appears that the ravage caused by the super bug Clostridium difficile, is equivalent// to the fatalities caused by road accidents.

Dr John Starr, reader in geriatric medicine at the University of Edinburgh, has provided statistics which demonstrates the increase in cases of C difficile, up by 5.5 per cent annually; in contrast, MRSA cases had dropped by 4.3 per cent. Nearly 50,000 patients above the age of 65 suffered C difficile infection in hospitals in England in 2006 and 7000 patients suffered MRSA.

A safety measure would be to ensure that patients who are to undergo routine surgeries be checked out for the presence of the bug. This measure will help curb the spread of infections.

Dr John Starr said, "With more than 2,200 deaths attributed to C difficile in death certificates in England and Wales, the mortality rate is fast approaching that for road traffic accidents and is now around half that for suicide. Control of C difficile is difficult because, unlike MRSA, alcohol hand scrubs are ineffective and its spores are resistant to routine hospital cleaning."

Therefore, it is imperative that patients be screened for the presence of the bacterium, prior to hospital admission. The bacterium in question called Clostridium difficile resides in the gut and makes its victim sick with diarrhea, that’s why the sobriquet “hospital diarrhea”.

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