Health Care Associated C. difficile: rate per 1000 patient days

What do we mean by "Nosocomial Infection Rates"?

  • A non-nosocomial incidence is defined as one which occurs within 72 hours of admission to the hospital.
  • In addition, there are general trends of increasing rates and strains of infections globally.





 1. What is Clostridium difficile (C.difficile)?

C.difficile is a spore-forming bacteria that is present in the environment and can colonize up to 3-5% of adults in the community without causing symptoms. C.difficile has been a known cause of healthcare-associated diarrhea for about 30 years. Its spores are resistant to eradication by many environmental influences, including standard cleaning agents used in hospitals.

 2. What causes C. difficile?

C. difficile can be picked up on the hands from exposure in the environment, and can get into the stomach once the mouth is touched, or if food is handled and then swallowed. Once in the stomach, the bacteria usually will not cause any problems unless the other bowel bacteria are disturbed, which can happen when antibiotics are taken. Without the presence of the typical bowel bacteria, the C. difficile bacteria may start to grow and produce a toxin that will cause illness. The spread of C.difficile occurs due to inadequate hand hygiene and environmental cleaning.

 3. What are the risk factors for CDI?

Certain people are at increased risk for acquiring CDI. These risk factors include:

•·         History of antibiotic usage

•·         Bowel surgery

•·         Chemotherapy

•·         Prolonged hospitalization

•·         Being elderly

•·         Serious underlying illness or debilitation