Beware of Clostridium difficile hospital outbreaks

Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, is one tough bug.

A study looked at how the bacteria is spread (via Hospital Medicine Quick Hits) throughout the hospital during an outbreak.

Disturbingly, it was found in 15% of non-isolation patient rooms, 31% of physician work areas, and 21% of portable medical equipment, including pulse oximeters, medication carts, and bar code scanners.

The moral? Wash your hands frequently, especially in the setting of a C. difficile outbreak. Alcohol-based sanitizers aren’t effective in killing the spores. You need old-fashioned soap and water.

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  • Christian Sinclair, MD

    Interesting that they found the following:

    “including 9 of 29 (31%) in physician work areas, 1 of 10 (10%) in nurse work areas”

    I would think with the greater chance of exposure the nurse work areas would be more contaminated. Or is it that docs just don’t wash or gown up like they should?