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Clostridium difficile, known as C. diff, is a germ that can multiply in the gut and colon when patients take some antibiotics to kill off other germs. It can also spread through contaminated surfaces or hands.
While it can be treated by antibiotics, C. diff can cause diarrhoea and can be deadly for older people and other vulnerable patients, and it can become so serious that some patients need to have part of their intestines surgically removed.
Leicester’s Hospitals Consultant in Microbiology David Jenkins said: "We have put a lot of effort into reducing antibiotic prescribing, improving hand hygiene and environmental cleaning which we know helps reduce the spread. It’s good to see this paying off.”
“We are currently on track to meet the our trajectory**, which would give us our lowest C. diff level ever.”
In 2010/11 there were 200 cases of C. diff in our hospitals, but that reduced to just 61 between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016. Since 1 April 2016 we have had just 43 cases – so we continue to drive down the occurrence of this infection in our hospitals.
* as per NHS England reporting processes and national case definitions
** trajectory as set by NHS England – less than 61 cases between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017.
NHS England Clostridium difficile infection objectives:https://www.england.nhs.uk/patientsafety/associated-infections/clostridium-difficile/
More about C. diff: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Clostridium-difficile/Pages/Introduction.aspx