Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

C. diff infections becoming more common, severe in children and elderly

Date:
October 22, 2012
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
Clostridium difficile infections are becoming more common and more severe in hospitalized children and the elderly, in large part due to greater use of antibiotics, researchers report.

Clostridium difficile infections are becoming more common and more severe in hospitalized children and the elderly, in large part due to greater use of antibiotics, Mayo Clinic researchers report in studies being presented at the American College of Gastroenterology annual meeting.

Related Articles


The bacterium, also known as C. difficile or C. diff, can cause an infection with symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. It is the most common cause of diarrhea in hospitals and is linked to 14,000 U.S. deaths each year.

The Mayo study analyzed five years of data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey and found that of an estimated 13.7 million hospitalized children, the 46,176 with C. diff infections had significantly longer hospital stays, more instances of colectomy (partial or total removal of the colon), increased admission to long or short-term care facilities, and higher risk of death.

"Despite increased awareness of C. difficile in children, and advancements in management and prevention, this remains a major problem in hospitalized children," says Sahil Khanna, M.B.B.S., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist.

Elderly patients also have a greater risk of complications from C. difficile and dying from the infection. In a separate study of 1.3 million adult patients hospitalized with C. diff, patients over 65 were in the hospital longer, sent to nursing homes more frequently and had a greater risk of death. That suggests being over age 65 is an independent risk factor for adverse outcomes associated with the infection.

Researchers say increased use of antibiotics is a main reason for the increasing infection rates. When a person takes antibiotics, good bacteria or flora that protect against infection are destroyed. When these bacteria are destroyed, patients are vulnerable to C. difficile picked up from contaminated surfaces or spread from a health care provider's hands.

Treatments depend on the severity and number of times a patient has had a C. diff infection. Typically, physicians will treat it with the antibiotic metronidazole or oral vancomycin. For severe cases and patients with recurrent C. diff, fecal transplants are an option. Stool transplant restores healthy intestinal bacteria by placing donor stool in the colon.

Recurrent C. difficile is a majore problem with the risk of recurrence being 20 percent after a first infection and as much as 60 percent after multiple infections. People who have had C. difficile are twice as likely to get it again. Other known risk factors include proton-pump inhibitors for gastric reflux, immunosuppression, and long hospital stays.

It costs at least $1 billion annually to treat C. difficile infections.

Prevention measures include:

  • Washing hands frequently with soap and warm water in the event of a C. difficile outbreak; alcohol-based hand sanitizers may not destroy C. diff spores.
  • Patients hospitalized with C. difficile should have a private room or share a room with someone else who has it. Hospital staff and visitors should wear disposable gloves and gowns while in the room.
  • Thoroughly cleaning surfaces with a product that contains chlorine bleach.
  • Avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics.
  • When on antibiotics, take probiotics to help restore balance to the intestinal tract.

Other study authors include Mallika Gupta, M.B.B.S., Larry Baddour, M.D., and Darrell Pardi, M.D.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mayo Clinic. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "C. diff infections becoming more common, severe in children and elderly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022081219.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2012, October 22). C. diff infections becoming more common, severe in children and elderly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022081219.htm
Mayo Clinic. "C. diff infections becoming more common, severe in children and elderly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022081219.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins