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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Canada : Health district trying to curb C. difficile

Via Herald News, excerpt :

" It seems particularly cruel when sick people who enter hospital to get better end up getting a hospital-acquired illness.

And if the bacterium you pick up happens to be Clostridium difficile, the cruelty can be magnified.

"There is quite a spectrum of clinical illness, everything from no symptoms to very severe," says Dr. Kevin Forward, a microbiologist with Dalhousie University.

"There can be very serious involvement, dehydration, decrease in kidney function and the bowel can cease to work."

Bowel function can be so severely affected that the wall of the bowel can perforate and leak poisons into the rest of the body.

While C. difficile can be found in any hospital or long-term care facility, two recent outbreaks at Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney have raised concerns about the potentially fatal bacterium.

An outbreak early last year was linked to the deaths of 11 patients in seven of the nine hospitals under the direction of the Cape Breton district health authority. A total of 64 patients contracted C. difficile before the outbreak was declared over in May.

A Public Health Agency of Canada report on the outbreak was published just days before the latest occurrence in December."

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