Clostridium Difficile Outbreak Kills More than 30 in Ontario

Finally, it now seems that the Ontario hospitals affected by clostridium difficile have gotten the outbreak under control.  Hospitals, especially within the Niagara region, noticed a surge in C. difficile cases since May of this year and many struggled to keep the number of serious infections and resulting deaths down.

C. difficile is a superbug that can secrete high levels of toxin.  It causes symptoms of severe diarrhea and swelling of the colon, which can burst and result in death from septic shock.  C. difficile infections mainly result from eradication of the normal gut flora by antibiotics, and often affect the elderly, patients with weakened immune systems, and patients who have had previous surgery. In many cases, C. difficile spreads in hospitals through contact with fecal matter and can stay hidden in a body without showing symptoms for long periods of time.  Once infected with this superbug, patients are forced to suffer from severe dehydration, diarrhea, organ failure, and blood poisoning.

Today, more than 30 deaths have been linked directly to the C. difficile outbreak in Ontario. About three years ago, a similar outbreak killed 62 patients, forcing the Ontario government to pass legislature making C. difficile reporting mandatory. Currently, hospitals are only able to declare an outbreak has been cleared if there are no new cases discovered in a one-month time period.  At this stage, it is difficult to determine the states of the various hospitals in Ontario, but precautionary measures are currently being taken to ensure that the outbreak is controlled and further infections are prevented. For example,

  • The number of visitors into hospitals are being restricted
  • Two infection control teams have been brought in to secure the outbreak in specific hospitals
  • Antibiotic administration is being kept low; yet still being given out to those who require it.
  • Confirmed and suspected C. difficile patients are never put together

Moreover, more medical staff is needed to control the C. difficile outbreak, especially in the Niagara region.  In addition, cleaning staff have been hired in hospitals to sanitize areas where C. difficile can be easily contracted such as bathrooms of confirmed patients and emergency rooms. As bacteria can live on surfaces for a number of days, vigilant handwashing routines and practices can be one of the most effective safeguards against C. difficile infection.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Leave a Reply

Staypressed theme by Themocracy