Common Hospital Infection Lengthens Patient
MONDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitalized patients who are
Clostridium difficile -- the most common cause of infectious
diarrhea in hospitals -- will lengthen their stay by about six days
on average, a new study indicates.
Experts say prevention is key to controlling the spread of the
bacterial infection known as
For the study, published Dec. 5 in the journal
CMAJ, researchers analyzed information on nearly 137,000 hospital admissions in Ottawa over the course of seven years. Of those admissions, 1,393 patients became infected with C. difficile and spent 34 days in the hospital, compared with
just eight day for those who did not have the infection.
However, patients with
C. difficile generally had more serious illnesses, which the
researchers took into account. They then calculated that becoming
infected with the bacteria actually lengthened hospital stays by an
average of six days.
The bacterial illness commonly occurs in older people and those
with weakened immune systems. It can pass to patients from health
care personnel who have touched contaminated surfaces without
washing their hands, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. Beside diarrhea, symptoms include fever,
nausea and loss of appetite.
About 10 percent of patients who become infected in the hospital
C. difficile will die, according to background information in
a journal news release.
"We believe our study provides the most accurate measure yet of the impact of hospital-acquired C. difficile on length of hospital stay," study author Alan
Forster, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research
Institute and an associate professor at the University of Ottawa,
said in the release. He noted that new tools to collect hospital
data and provide more accurate information are boosting
Study co-author Dr. David Enoch, with Peterborough and Stamford
Hospitals in the United Kingdom, said in the release that
prevention and oversight are essential to stopping the spread of
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides
more information on
C. difficile in health care settings.
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