Article from Virtual Medical Centre :
" Australia is in the grip of a new superbug that can cause potentially fatal colon infections, an editorial in the latest Medical Journal of Australia says.
The first case of an epidemic strain of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) thought to have been acquired in Australia has been identified at a hospital in Melbourne, and further clusters have been reported in residential aged care facilities, Dr Rhonda Stuart of the Monash Medical Centre's Department of Infectious Diseases said.
C. difficile infection can cause conditions ranging from mild diarrhoea to pseudomembranous colitis to toxic megacolon, and can be fatal. It is the most common cause of hospital-acquired diarrhoea, and now rivals methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MSRA) as the most common health care-associated infection in the United States.
Since 2000, C. difficile infection rates associated with an epidemic strain (C. difficile ribotype 027) have increased in healthcare facilities in the US, Canada and Europe. This strain has an increased resistance to antibiotics, increased production of toxins and spores, and causes more morbidity and mortality.
"Australia is now also in the grip of this new strain of C. difficile," Dr Stuart said.
"It is sobering to contemplate that what has occurred in the US, Canada and Europe is potentially and imminently on our doorstep."