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Beyond MRSA – Hospitals Fight Superbug

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 10:11 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: MRSA, Superbugs, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Penicillin, Hospital Infections

Hospitals are fighting a new superbug.

LEARN MORE

 

IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ protective clothing/ author: Ids

 

There is an emerging superbug on the horizon that's giving MRSA a run for its money, one that seems to emerge after a treatment of antibiotics. 

The bug is called Clostridium difficile or C diff.  The CDC estimates C. diff contributes  to between 15,000 to 30,000 deaths annually. There are an estimated 500,000 cases in the U.S. each year.

Once a concern for older patients and those health compromised, the bacteria is now infecting pregnant women, children and healthy adults.

"We've been trying to sound the alarm repeatedly since 2004 that the trend is continuing upward," says Cliff McDonald, a CDC epidemiologist to the WSJ blog.

The bug was actually recognized as a problem in 1970. By the year 2000, an especially virulent strain emerged.  C. diff is usually kept in check by the healthy bacteria in the gut. What contributes to the spread is a good dose of antibiotics that wipe out bacteria, the good and bad balance, that allows a C. diff infection to spread.    

Symptoms include severe diarrhea, ruptured colons, perforated bowels, kidney failure, blood poisoning and death, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Hospitals are trying to slow the spread by cleaning with alcohol and strong cleaning solutions for patient rooms; isolating infected patients; giving visitors gloves and a gown before any contact; and dedicating equipment use to a single patient or disinfect between patients. 

C. diff spores can dry out and remain infectious for a long period of time.

Reportedly 3-5 percent of healthy adults carry C. diff in their gut. Higher rates are found in hospitals and nursing homes where the bacteria can spread.

The CDC is launching a nation-wide surveillance to gather more data about the prevalence of C. diff.

Hospitals are trying to stop the spread by the judicious use of antibiotics.

Antimicrobial resistance has been reported for over 60 years and likely will always be with us according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What You Can Do

Limit antibiotic use. The woman profiled in this story took an antibiotic for a sinus infection, then visited a nursing home where she may have picked up the C. diff.

Take a pro-biotic along with an antibiotic to replenish the good bacteria wiped out by the drug.

Eat yogurt with pro-biotics

Follow strict hand-washing and cleaning at home


3 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by Brendan Donovan
Thursday, September 18, 2008 12:15 PM EST

Lets go back to proven methods...1936 !
Ultra Violet Irradiation for patient spaces and equipment, ambulances and food service trucks !
whats the aversion CDC ?

Anonymous User
Posted by Brendan Donovan
Thursday, September 18, 2008 12:16 PM EST

Lets go back to proven methods...1936 !
Ultra Violet Irradiation for patient spaces and equipment, ambulances and food service trucks !
whats the aversion CDC ?

Anonymous User
Posted by Brendan Donovan
Thursday, September 18, 2008 12:17 PM EST

Lets go back to proven methods...1936 !
Ultra Violet Irradiation for patient spaces and equipment, ambulances and food service trucks !
whats the aversion CDC ?

Comments for this article are closed.

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