Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is one of the most common healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) in the United States, causing an estimated 100,000 infections yearly. C. diff is a bacterium that causes colitis and can infect people through direct contact with items or surfaces contaminated with the bacteria. Individuals that have existing illnesses or conditions with prolonged use of antibiotics are at a greater risk of the disease. However, healthcare workers can also spread the bacteria to patients or contaminate surfaces through contact (CDC).
According to Infection Control Today, a study presented by the University of Michigan's Medical School and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology reports that "nearly half of American hospitals aren't taking key steps to prevent a kind of gut infection that kills nearly 30,000 people annually and sickens hundreds of thousands more." Although all hospitals have to monitor for C. diff infections, a lack of antibiotic-limiting efforts are a main concern in infection control. The article states, "more than 60 percent of hospitalized patients receive antibiotics -- and as much as 50 percent of that antibiotic use may be inappropriate." With an increase and overuse, simply using antibiotics in these conditions is cause for antibiotic resistance in C. diff because it causes a lack of normal intestinal bacteria. This allows for the hard to treat bacteria to cause severe and life threatening infections.
In addition, another study presented by Premier, Inc in the American Journal of Infection Control presents a study where C. diff increases hospital costs by 40 percent per case and "puts those infected at high risk for longer hospital stays and readmission".
Since C. diff spores can persist in hospital environments for weeks, preventative steps in infection control should be a top priority. UVC Cleaning Systems offers products that provide a 99.9% kill rate of Clostridium difficile and can help in the fight against the number one healthcare associated infection!