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.

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