Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

C. difficile epidemic should concern not only hospital patients but people at home

Date:
June 16, 2014
Source:
Case Western Reserve University
Summary:
Without proper infection prevention in hospitals, and now homes, the Clostridium difficile bacteria poses a major health threat, cautions an infection control researcher. While mainly a concern in hospitals, cases of the C. difficile infection (or C. diff) are on the rise in the community, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that has seen increased reports of the infected people who have had no contact with hospital patients with the infection.

Without proper infection prevention in hospitals, and now homes, the Clostridium difficile bacteria poses a major health threat, cautions a Case Western Reserve University infection control researcher.

Related Articles


While mainly a concern in hospitals, cases of the C. difficile infection (or C. diff) are on the rise in the community, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that has seen increased reports of the infected people who have had no contact with hospital patients with the infection. The CDC reported 7.6 people out of 100,000 who had no contact with people with C. diff were getting sick with the illness.

It particularly infects healthy people, and particularly pregnant women, said Irena Kenneley, a Case Western Reserve clinical nurse specialist in infection control and associate professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

Symptoms of C. diff include continual bouts of diarrhea, severe cramps, swollen stomach and intestinal irritation.

Potentially, the bacteria's toxins can cause ulcers and eventually eat through intestine walls, which allows infection to enter the blood.

Kenneley's American Journal of Nursing article, "Clostridium difficile Infection Is on the Rise," focuses on evidence-based steps recommended by the CDC that nurses and other health care workers, including those who prepare and deliver food, clean facilities or make deliveries, can take to confine the bacteria in hospitals and other settings where someone shows symptoms of the infection. And similar precautions apply at home.

"The article delivers practical advice to nurses and nurse practitioners on infection prevention and control activities in any setting," Kenneley said.

Based on CDC guidelines, she recommends:

  • Isolating the patient (or, if possible, the person at home) when symptoms appear;
  • Appropriate and timely lab testing to determine the type of bacteria present;
  • Treating with appropriate antibiotics;
  • Cleaning thoroughly (using bleach is best);
  • Washing hands to stop the spread of further infections.

That last step, washing hands, is critical for hospital workers, family members and other visitors who have encountered someone with C. diff or is suspected to have contracted the bacteria. It can take up to 96 hours to confirm a C. diff diagnosis. Because of the wait for a diagnosis, isolation of the patient is key -- a practice similar to hospital protocol for patients with suspected tuberculosis.

Kenneley said these bacteria that can live as hibernating spores up to 100 years on surfaces until conditions are right to proliferate. The stomach and intestines offer that environment, once ingested.

Particularly at risk are people with compromised immune systems (HIV and transplant patients), those who are aging, recovering from gastrointestinal surgeries or are on antibiotics for more than three days to treat other illnesses.

C. diff has proliferated through use of broad-spectrum antibiotics that wipe out the healthy bacteria. A few antibiotics, such as vancomycin and metronidazole, have some success treating the infection, she said.

Poor hand-washing practices allow spores to travel between patients and other surfaces. Hand-washing must occur multiple times during patient care.

Kenneley recommends washing hands before entering a room, any time the hands touch a new surface in the room, and when exiting. And soap is more effective than alcohol-based hand sanitizers or wipes that do not destroy spores, she said.

Although hospitals clean rooms daily and after a patient leaves, some spores may still survive, Kenneley said, which is why the key to prevention is hand-washing.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Case Western Reserve University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Irena L. Kenneley. Clostridium difficile Infection Is on the Rise. AJN, American Journal of Nursing, 2014; 114 (3): 62 DOI: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000444501.54723.5b

Cite This Page:

Case Western Reserve University. "C. difficile epidemic should concern not only hospital patients but people at home." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140616134217.htm>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2014, June 16). C. difficile epidemic should concern not only hospital patients but people at home. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140616134217.htm
Case Western Reserve University. "C. difficile epidemic should concern not only hospital patients but people at home." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140616134217.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) Oxfam International has called for a multi-million dollar post-Ebola "Marshall Plan", with financial support given by wealthy countries, to help Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to recover. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The World Health Organization announced the fight against Ebola has entered its second phase as the number of cases per week has steadily dropped. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The California Health Department says e-cigarettes are a public health risk for both smokers and those who inhale e-cig smoke secondhand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) Officials say 66 students at a Southern California high school have been told to stay home through the end of next week because they may have been exposed to measles and are not vaccinated. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
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