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article imageRole of the environment in C. diff transmission

By Tim Sandle     Nov 20, 2016 in Health
San Josecito - A new review of how readily the hospital associated pathogen Clostridium difficile has been published. The review adds further evidence to the importance of contamination control in the hospital setting.
That hospitals can act as reservoirs for pathogen is not new; neither is the association with many types of bacteria that are resistant to antimicrobials. What a new report, written by medical researchers adds, is just how easily an organism like Clostridium difficile contamination can be transmitted within the hospital environment, if adequate controls are not in place.
Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a bacterium found in people’s intestines. It is often found in healthy people, where it causes no symptoms. However, the organism causes disease when the normal bacteria in the gut are suppressed, as might occur when a person is on a course of antibiotics. Favorable conditions allow C. difficile to grow to atypically high levels. A high level of organisms leads to a toxin build-up and this can trigger mild to severe diarrhea. For those who are ill, as with hospital patients, the effects can be very serious and sometimes fatal.
The organism can be spread easily. The bacterium is capable of forming spores, enabling it to survive in a harsh environment for extended periods of time.
A new study has examined a "C.diff" outbreak situation within medical, surgical and general wards of a Costa Rican Hospital. During a rise in incidences, samples from hospital surfaces were collected during the outbreak were compared to samples taken from equivalent surfaces two years after the outbreak had been brought under control. The types of surfaces examined included bedrails, walls, tables and so forth.
The collected bacteria were subject to DNA analysis using advanced molecular sequencing techniques. Some of the same organisms that had been present during the outbreak were recovered two years later, having survived in the spore state. The implications indicate the robustness of the bacterium and the importance of having strict cleaning and disinfection protocols in place. Some of the locations selected for analysis, the authors write, are not typical reservoirs for hospital cleaning staff to target.
The review is published in the journal American Journal of Infection Control. The associated article is titled “Molecular detection of Clostridium difficile on inert surfaces from a Costa Rican hospital during and after an outbreak.”
More about c diff, Clostridium difficile, Hospital, Hygiene, costa ric
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