herald

Friday 24 November 2017

Superbug C-diff threat grows outside hospitals

superbug C-diff is increasing in strength and becoming a greater danger to the community, it has been revealed.

It is already recognised as a serious cause of infection in hospitals and healthcare facilities but the risk is now increasing throughout the community, according to a new report from the Health Protecton Surveillance Centre (HPSC).

Some patients with the infection suffer just mild diarrhoea, but others, especially older adults weakened by previous illness, can develop a more severe condition called colitis. And the bug can even be life-threatening for older, more vulnerable, patients.

Experts say the most common risk factors for infection include exposure to antibiotics, advanced age and hospitalisation.

"A number of strains have been detected in recent years that are potentially more virulent, are associated with more severe diseases and can cause outbreaks," the report said.

The experts said that repeated cases of C-diff infection can account for up to 20pc of all cases. According to new figures, nearly 7,000 new cases were reported between May 2008 up to December 10 last year.

The figures showed that there was an overall decrease of approximately 10pc in the number of new cases reported between 2009 and 2010.







Detection

In 2011, the number and rate of C-diff infections increased to levels similar to those seen in 2009 -- however, a number of laboratories are now using more sensitive diagnostic tests which may account for increased detection rates.

Over the three years that enhanced C-diff infection surveillance has been in place, 77pc of cases were reported as being healthcare-associated and 19pc community-associated.

While the proportion of cases originating in healthcare settings decreased from 82pc in 2009 to 75pc in 2011, the proportion originating in the community has increased from 13pc to 20.9pc over the same period.

hnews@herald.ie

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