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Clostridium difficile rates higher than previously believed

June 01, 2009
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WASHINGTON — Recent studies show that previous estimates of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections in U.S. hospitals were low and that C. diff is much more prevalent than researchers once believed, according to the American Journal of Infection Control.
According to the study, which queried personnel at 648 hospitals, or approximately 12.5 percent of all U.S. health care facilities, the overall C. diff prevalence rate was 13.1 per 1000 patients, the story stated.
According to findings from a survey done last summer by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology Inc. (APIC), actual C. diff rates are 20 times higher than previous estimates.
Seventy-three percent of the cases reported met the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria for health care-associated Clostridium difficile, the story noted.
Given that only 12.5 percent of health care facilities were questioned in the study, these estimates are conservative and actual C. diff infection rates could be much higher, the story added.
According to the study, 82 percent of health care facilities reported that their Clostridium difficile infection rate had not decreased in the past three years.
To view a state-by-state breakdown of C. diff infection rates, click here.
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