Clostridium difficile deaths on rise

Aug. 8, 2009 at 1:44 PM
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GLASGOW, Scotland, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- The bacteria Clostridium difficile is on the rise in Scottish hospitals and killing more people than the H1N1 virus, an infectious disease specialist said.

"It is a very serious problem. It is killing more people than swine flu," Professor Hugh Pennington of Aberdeen University said.

Clostridium difficile naturally resides in the body and releases toxins in the bloodstream when it becomes overpopulated, The Glasgow Herald reported Saturday.

In Scotland, the bacteria was linked to 597 deaths in 2007 and 765 in 2008, a record high, Scotland's General Register Office reported.

Pressure is mounting for national health officials to investigate, said Patricia Ferguson of Glasgow, who represents Scotland in the British Parliament.

Ferguson has teamed with Michelle Stewart, whose mother-in-law was killed by the bacteria. Medical record-keeping regarding her mother-in-law's illness was a "shambles," Stewart said in calling for nationwide probe.

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