C. difficile anywhere medical care given

March 6, 2012 at 10:03 PM   |   Comments

ATLANTA, March 6 (UPI) -- The life-threatening bacteria C.difficile affects patients not just in hospitals, but also in nursing homes and out-patient care, U.S. health officials said.

Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said infections from C. difficile, a bacteria that causes diarrhea and other health issues, is a patient safety concern in all types of medical facilities, not just hospitals as traditionally thought.

"C. difficile harms patients just about everywhere medical care is given," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC said in a statement. "Illness and death linked to this deadly disease do not have to happen. Patient lives can be saved when healthcare providers follow the Six Steps to Prevention, which include key infection control and smart antibiotic prescribing recommendations."

C. difficile is linked to about 14,000 U.S. deaths every year. Those most at risk were those who took antibiotics and also received care in any medical setting, the report said.

Almost half of infections occur in people age 65 and younger, but more than 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 and older.

Previously released estimates based on billing data showed that the number of U.S. hospital stays related to C. difficile remained at historically high levels of about 337,000 annually, adding at least $1 billion in extra costs to the healthcare system, but the said the hospital estimates might only represent one part of C. difficile's overall impact.

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