Friday, December 2, 2005

Clostridium Difficile Is Becoming A Wider Threat

From The New York Times:
A deadly bacterial illness commonly seen in people taking antibiotics appears to be growing more common, even in patients who are not taking such drugs, federal health officials warned on Thursday.

The bacterium, Clostridium difficile, has become a menace in hospitals and nursing homes, and last year it was blamed for 100 deaths over 18 months at a hospital in Quebec.

Recent cases in four states show that the bacteria are appearing more often in healthy people who have not been admitted to hospitals or even taken antibiotics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"What exactly has made C-diff act up right now, we don't know," said Dr. L. Clifford McDonald, an epidemiologist at the centers.
From the CDC, Severe Clostridium difficile--Associated Disease in Populations Previously at Low Risk --- Four States, 2005:
Clostridium difficile is a spore-forming, gram-positive bacillus that produces exotoxins that are pathogenic to humans. C. difficile--associated disease (CDAD) ranges in severity from mild diarrhea to fulminant colitis and death. Antimicrobial use is the primary risk factor for development of CDAD because it disrupts normal bowel flora and promotes C. difficile overgrowth. C. difficile typically has affected older or severely ill patients who are hospital inpatients or residents of long-term--care facilities. Recently, however, both the frequency and severity of health-care--associated CDAD has increased; from 2000 to 2001, the rate of U.S. hospital discharge diagnoses of CDAD increased by 26% (1). One possible explanation for these increases is the emergence of a previously uncommon strain of C. difficile responsible for severe hospital outbreaks (2). Although individual cases of CDAD are not nationally reportable, in 2005, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) and CDC received several case reports of serious CDAD in otherwise healthy patients with minimal or no exposure to a health-care setting. An investigation was initiated by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH), PADOH, and CDC to determine the scope of the problem and explore a possible change in CDAD epidemiology. This report summarizes the results of the investigation in Pennsylvania and three other states, which indicated the presence of severe CDAD in healthy persons living in the community and peripartum women, two populations previously thought to be at low risk. The findings underscore the importance of judicious antimicrobial use, the need for community clinicians to maintain a higher index of suspicion for CDAD, and the need for surveillance to better understand the changing epidemiology of CDAD.
Technorati Tags: Clostridium difficule, C. Difficile, Medicine

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank to the gov for approving these new drugs, I live michigan and I talked my mom into having hip replacement to improve quality of life. pre surgical testing showed she need a bi-pass obviously to ensure her health though surgery, know would 3 doctors fail to inform us of this probable complication? she had all surgeries with 6 mos, she was home alone 4 days after each. 2 weeks after last hip she was stricken now dying a horific death, this has been written off as natural cause death forever? my mothers surgeries were not emergencies, we could have waited. 5 in hosp c-diff inc staff nurse, hospital taking no precautions? hopefully this drug was approved in time. thanks broken hearted in mi sorry mom...i love you.