Tag Archives: C. diff

C. diff is stubborn and deadly, and no shortcuts should be taken when trying to prevent spread

Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is a known killer that has drawn plenty of attention from the Centers for Disease Control. C. diff is on the CDC shortlist of microorganisms with a threat level of “urgent.” It no longer is isolated in hospitals, moving to the community at large. Additionally, it can be spread through the air. These are a few of the factors that make it important to continue to study and analyze it as well as develop methods to combat its spread.

Airborne Spread of Clostridium difficile, at UPCM Center for Health Security, points out that a recent paper authored by British researchers, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, demonstrates that C. diff spores may also be spread through the air. It’s already been known that patients in hospitals infected with C. diff can shed large numbers of spores, which leads to them being found of myriad surfaces and thus leading to the spread of the disease. Additionally, healthcare workers can help move them outside of rooms as fomites on clothing and equipment.

Epidemiology of community-associated Clostridium difficile infection, 2009 through 2011 sets out to determine epidemiological and clinical characteristics of community-associated C. diff infection and to explore potential sources of C difficile acquisition in the community. It concludes in part that “most patients with community-associated CDI had recent outpatient health care exposure, and up to 36% would not be prevented by reduction of antibiotic use only. Our data support evaluation of additional strategies, including further examination of C difficile transmission in outpatient and household settings and reduction of proton pump inhibitor use.”

Study Shows Healthcare Workers’ Hands Contaminated with C. difficile After Routine Care notes that “many healthcare workers may be passing on this highly contagious bacteria to patients even after routine alcohol-based hand rubbing. This points to the need for routine hand washing with soap and water, rather than alcohol-based hand rub, after care of C. difficile patients in all settings.” Alcohol-based hand sanitizers aren’t enough when it comes to C. diff spores.

Toilet aerosols flush with harmful pathogens, potential disease sources

twoMost know they don’t want their towels hanging near the toilet. Human waste is filled with bacteria.  Some of it is good, other is potentially pathenogenic. It is time to get smart about toilet aerosols.

The potential spread of infection caused by aerosol contamination of surfaces after flushing a domestic toilet sets out “to determine the level of aerosol formation and fallout within a toilet cubicle after flushing a toilet contaminated with indicator organisms at levels required to mimic pathogen shedding during infectious diarrhea.” In part it concludes that: Although a single flush reduced the level of micro-organisms in the toilet bowl water when contaminated at concentrations reflecting pathogen shedding, large numbers of micro-organisms persisted on the toilet bowl surface and in the bowl water which were disseminated into the air by further flushes.

Potential for aerosolization of Clostridium difficile after flushing toilets: the role of toilet lids in reducing environmental contamination risk attempts “to substantiate the risks of airborne dissemination of C. difficile following flushing a toilet, in particular when lids are not fitted.” It finds that “the mean numbers of droplets emitted upon flushing by the lidless toilets in clinical areas were 15-47, depending on design. C. difficile aerosolization and surrounding environmental contamination occur when a lidless toilet is flushed.”

In a Mist appears at the New York Times and says that “toilet plumes could play a contributory role in the transmission of infectious diseases but that additional research is warranted to assess the risks. In the meantime, when someone in the house is sick or at risk of illness, it might be prudent to protect toothbrushes and drinking glasses by putting them in the medicine cabinet.”

Aerosol Generation by Modern Flush Toilets is a study that “provides additional support for concerns that flush toilets could play a role in airborne transmission of infectious disease via droplet nuclei bioaerosols. Further research is needed to separate the incidence of toilet flush aerosol-related airborne infectious disease transmission, if it exists as seems likely, from transmission by other routes.”

Related pieces:

C. diff moves easily throughout hospitals; cost in lives, money soars

twoClostridium difficile (C-diff) remains a major problem in our hospitals. This costly bug is aerosolized in toilets and easily moves throughout hospitals on shoes, clothing, air and hands. More than 200,000 cases are reported in the United States each year. The costs in lives and dollars are staggering.

C-diff is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions such as colitis. It is a tough and opportunistic bacteria that can invade the intestines of people whose gut bacteria have been wiped out by heavy doses of antibiotics, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

C. diff Infection Increases Hospital Costs by 40% notes that C. diff is one of the most common healthcare-associated infections. It maintains that C. diff increases hospital stays by 55 percent, increases by 77 percent the chances a patient is readmitted and, most importantly, finds that C. diff increases hospital costs by 40 percent. Clearly, efforts to reduce and prevent infection save money.

Airborne Spread of Clostridium difficile points out that transmission of C. diff is difficult to interrupt, particularly given that studies show the spores can be spread through the air. Read more at the link.

Antibiotic Resistant threats in the United States, 2013 addresses C. diff as an “urgent threat.”