The rate of C diff infections in the US and the world have increased in the last decade along with associated morbidity and mortality. CDI (clostridium difficile infection) symptoms can range from mild diarrhea to severe cases including pseudomembranous colitis and toxic megacolon and death.
It is estimated that the incidence of CDI in 2011 in the US was 95.3 per 100,000 or about 293,000 cases nationally. Incidence is higher among females, whites and people 65 years of age and older. About one-third to one-half of health-care onset CDI cases begin in long-term care, thus residents in these facilities are at high risk. Incidence rates may increase by four or five fold during outbreaks.
Not all people who acquire C Difficile develop CDI; thus prevention can target reducing both the spread of the bacteria or spores and patient susceptibility to infection. The likelihood of developing CDI depends on a number of factors that allow colonization and toxin production, including failure of the immune defenses, use of antibiotics, particularly broad spectrum or multiple antibiotics and changes to the intestinal microbiota.
Recent prevention efforts have included antimicrobial stewardship and using environmental and infection control strategies as well as seeking to improve the patient’s immune defenses through healthy digestive function and gut flora and improved nutrition
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently published the results of an evidence-based Practice Center review of this disease process and it is available in its entirety at their website:
Remember, we can make a difference when it comes to prevention and early detection of C diff; it is important to the quality of life and overall well-being of our residents and staff. Take a few minutes to review this information and share with your staff. Thank you for all you do and enjoy this beautiful summer!