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Long-term plan needed for C. diff


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

Scotland must invest "extraordinary resources" to clear hospitals of the deadly clostridium difficile (C.diff) infection, a leading expert has warned.

Canadian Dr Mark Miller will tell a conference in Edinburgh later that ongoing vigilance is required.

His warning comes a day after the first public session of the inquiry into the C.diff deaths at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Dunbartonshire.

Dr Miller will explain to delegates how C.diff has been tackled in Canada.

In Scotland C.diff has overtaken MRSA as the leading cause of deaths from hospital-acquired infections, and it is rapidly becoming resistant to antibiotic treatment.

C.diff rates and deaths are known to have risen, although it is hard to obtain an accurate picture of the trend.

In the period 2000-2008 the General Register Office for Scotland reported an increase in the number of C.diff deaths from 116 to 765.

On Tuesday Dr Mark Miller will tell Scottish doctors and microbiologists at the conference on Hospital Acquired Infection about the lessons learned from the Canadian experience.

When the infection took hold there it was contained following stringent infection control procedures.

Dr Miller, who is from the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University in Montreal, said: "Extraordinary resources were required in each instance to control the epidemics and it is likely that similar interventions will be required in Scotland.

He added that it was vital that healthcare teams did not view C.diff epidemics as requiring a one-off control strategy at the time of the outbreak.

"Any lapses in the increased level of infection control are usually followed by an increase in C.diff rates and related deaths."

Dr Ian Gould, form the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh, said: "Whilst the development of powerful antibiotic treatments has resulted in huge strides in surgical and medical treatment, antibiotic resistance to these same drugs threatens these advances and might even undermine conventional infection control measures.

But he added: "Scotland now has surveillance systems in place which will allow us to monitor antibiotic resistance and infection rates and to control both more effectively in the future."

On Monday the first public session of an inquiry into the C.diff deaths at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Dunbartonshire was held.

The hearing will also look into the handling of an outbreak at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee last year, in which five people died.</p


This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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