CDC Report: Deadly Bacteria Spreading Across Medical Facilities

According to a new Vital Signs issued earlier this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infections from Clostridium difficile (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. While many healthcare-associated infections, such as bloodstream infections, declined in the past decade, C. difficile infection rates and deaths climbed to historic highs.

The report highlights:
  • C. difficile infections are linked to 14,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
  • Deaths related to C. difficile increased 400 percent between 2000 and 2007, due in part to a stronger germ strain.
  • Most C. difficile infections are connected with receiving medical care.
  • Almost half of infections occur in people younger than 65, but more than 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 and older.
  • About 25 percent of C. difficile infections first show symptoms in hospital patients; 75 percent first show in nursing home patients or in people recently cared for in doctors' offices and clinics.
  • C. difficile infections can be prevented. Early results from hospital prevention projects show 20 percent fewer C. difficile infections in less than two years with infection prevention and control measures.