Posts tagged: c difficile infection

Which Country Leads The World In Infection Surveillance?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that healthcare-associated infections cost the United States approximately $45 billion and claim the lives of thousands of patients annually. Surveillance of infections have become an enormous challenge for the healthcare systems across the world, and have become increasingly problematic due to antibiotic resistance. So which country is leading the world in this area?

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Hospital TV Remote Controls Carry More Bugs Than Toilet Bowl Handles

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Houston concluded that the items in hotel rooms with the highest levels of bacteria are those that are most commonly touched first upon entering a hotel room [1].  Such items include the TV remote, bedside lamp, and light switch. This new evidence coincides with findings from a similar study conducted in 2009 at the University of Arizona, where researchers concluded that TV remote controls in hospital rooms contained more bacteria than items such as the toilet bowl handle and bathroom door [2].

Another important aspect of this study’s findings is the fact that the data suggests that bacteria is most likely to be spread from room to room via the janitorial staff. Items that are transported from room to room, including cleaning carts, mops, and sponges were found to contain the highest amounts of bacterial contamination. After losing my father in 2008 to a number of infections including MRSA and C. diff, one of my biggest complaints was the fact that the janitorial staff at the hospital would clean the entire ICU with one bucket and mop, never stopping to change the cleaning solution from room to room. Because C. diff can form spores that are able survive on surfaces for long periods of time, such cleaning mechanisms are essentially causing more harm than good by transporting bacteria from room to room. While this present study focuses on hotel rooms, it still raises the issue of inadvertently transporting bacteria across hospital rooms.

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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. Read more »

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