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C diff kills eight patients

12th June 2008

Eight patients have died as a result of a superbug outbreak in Scotland.

An investigation into cases of Clostridium difficile at the Vale of Leven Hospital has shown that between December and June, eight out of the 54 patients who contracted C diff died as a direct result.

It has also emerged that C diff was also a contributory factor in a further eight deaths.

Overall 22 patients who had contracted C diff during that period died, although the infection was not found to have played a part in the further six deaths.

The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde launched an inquiry in May amid concerns that the infection had been passed between the Vale of Leven Hospital and the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and a review of hygiene procedures and antibiotic use is now under way.

Dr Syed Ahmed, chair of the Outbreak Control Team, said: “The overall number of C diff cases within the six-month period is higher on average than we would expect, but we are particularly concerned about the number of deaths due to this infection.

"This may not be due to any specific strain of C diff but more to do with the type of patients treated at the Vale of Leven which has a high proportion of elderly patients who are more likely to develop symptoms of the infection"

Reducing healthcare associated infections is a key priority for the Scottish Government which has said it expects all health boards to have robust policies in place to help manage C diff.

 

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