(BlackburnNews.com file photo)(BlackburnNews.com file photo)

C. difficile superbug causes outbreak at Chatham hospital

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) has declared an outbreak of Clostridium difficile, otherwise known as C. difficille, in the Medicine B Unit at the Chatham hospital.

On Tuesday morning, CKHA said there have been five cases of healthcare acquired Clostridium difficile infection on the Medicine B Unit since December 23, 2022.

Hospital officials said Chatham-Kent Public Health will work closely with CKHA to manage the outbreak and will continue to work in consultation until the outbreak is declared over.

C. diff is one of the many bacteria that can be found in feces and infection happens when antibiotics kill the good gut bacteria, which allows C.diff to multiply. The C. diff bacteria then produces toxins that damage the gut and can cause diarrhea. C. diff is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitals and nursing homes, according to medical and health experts.

Infections caused by Clostridioides difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) resulted in 1,743 premature deaths in Canada in 2019 and cost Canadian hospitals more than $91 million, according to a new study published in the Canada Communicable Disease Report.

The Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. reported that about one in six patients who get C. diff will get it again in the subsequent 2-8 weeks and that one in 11 people over age 65 diagnosed with a healthcare-associated C. diff infection die within one month.

CKHA noted several initiatives have been implemented to respond to the outbreak and hospital staff will continue following these measures until the local public health unit rescinds the outbreak orders.

"The safety of staff, physicians, patients, care partners, visitors and the community at large, has and will remain the top priority," said CKHA in a media release.

CKHA told CK News Today there are no visitor restrictions in place.

"Our usual visitor policy stands," said CKHA Director of Communications Fannie Vavoulis.

CKHA is reminding the community that the hospital remains a safe place to receive care and if you are experiencing an emergency call 911 or visit the nearest Emergency Department.

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