Warning over hospital bug

A leading Perth microbiologist is warning that a doubling in cases of a bacterial gut infection could be opening the way for more deadly and virulent strains to get into Australian hospitals

Professor Thomas Riley from the University of WA said the rates of Clostridium difficile infection in WA had increased significantly in the past nine months

The bacteria are found in the intestines and do not normally make people sick but when the balance of bacteria is disturbed Cdiff can multiply and produce toxins that cause diarrhoea and deadly inflammation of the bowel It spreads by touch when passed from the faeces of an infected person to skin food or clothes

Virulent and deadly strains of the bacteria have already emerged overseas and while there have been only a handful of cases reported in Australia experts want better national monitoring of cases

Professor Riley said it was important to pinpoint what was causing the surge in infections

Some will say were using better tests and doing more testing but over and above this there is a feeling there are lot more cases of Cdiff coming into hospitals he said

There is data suggesting this is increasing from something like 34 per cent of people up to 40 per cent

In WA we were seeing about 40 reports of hospital infections a month until about July last year and then all of sudden it has gone upwards and were up around 100 cases a month

Professor Riley said detection rates increased when testing for the bacterial infection was molecular rather than a laboratorybased enzyme test so it was tempting to think that was causing the increase

But I dont think its all that and we need to drill down on what part of the increase is due to testing and what is due to more people coming into hospitals with it he said

WA Health Department figures show increased reports of the infection in hospitals since mid2010 with a marked rise in the second half of last year

There were 255 cases found in 43 hospitals in the December quarter last year giving a rate of 45 infections per 10000 beddays compared with 30 infections per 10000 beddays in the previous three months
DID YOU KNOW 255 The number of Clostridium difficile infections found in 43 hospitals in the December 2011 quarter

Date : 30 Mar, 2012
Reference : http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/13303049/warning-over-hospital-bug/

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