Hospital patients either carry or are infected with Clostridium difficile at higher rates than previously thought, according to a new study by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
APIC found in its study that 13 out of every 1,000 inpatients were either infected or colonized with the germ. APIC collected the data by asking its members to take a snapshot of those patients on one day between May and August. Out of 648 participating hospitals, 1,443 patients with C. difficile were identified. Based on that estimate, there are more than 7,000 patients with C. difficile on any given day in hospitals, with costs to care for the infection ranging from $17.6 million to $51.5 million, APIC said in its study. The rate is 6.5 to 20 times higher than previously thought, according to APIC.
The results of the study indicate the seriousness of C. difficile, said Kathy Warye, chief executive officer of APIC, during a press conference. The severity of the disease is increasing. APIC released the study during a conference in Orlando, Fla., to raise awareness of prevention efforts. The association has published a guide to help healthcare professionals reduce C. difficile.
APIC recently launched a consulting subsidiary to help healthcare facilities implement policies and practices to prevent and control infections caused by C. difficile and other bacteria. Warye said APIC will continue to conduct periodic prevalence studies on C. difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the other well-known infection-causing germ. -- by Jean DerGurahian