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Monday 24th October 2016

C diff figures fall

23rd October 2008

New figures have revealed that cases of the hospital superbug Clostridium difficile fell significantly over the last three months.


The 8,683 cases recorded in patients aged 65 and over between April and June 2008 in England is an 18% drop on the previous quarter.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) says this latest fall sees the number of cases down by 38% on the same period last year and follows previous figures that have shown increases – though experts believe much of that is down to better reporting of cases.

Director of the HPA’s Centre for Infections, Professor Mike Catchpole, said the figures were reassuring but it was too early to say if that could be sustained in the way it had been with MRSA.

He added: "If numbers continue to drop in this way in future we are well on our way to seeing outbreaks of this unpleasant infection become fewer and fewer.

"It is important to remember that not all healthcare-associated infections are preventable.

"The use of antibiotics in patients who are very sick can leave people susceptible to C diff which would normally be easily kept at bay in healthy people."

C diff is a bacterium found in the gut of healthy people, though over 65s are more susceptible to infection from a condition that can be fatal.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said tremendous progress was being made against C diff but the Healthcare Commission said more sustained reductions were needed before success could be claimed in the battle against bug.


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