C.DIFF: Preventing Infectious Disease in Hospitals

Recently, infectious disease expert, Dr. Betsy McCaughey, came to World Health News radio to discuss CDIFF and preventing the spread of infectious disease in hospitals. Here's what you need to know. 


What is C. DIFF?

Clostridium difficile, also known as C. difficile, or C. diff, is a bacterium which causes infection. Symptoms can range from diarrhea to serious and potentially fatal inflammation of the colon.

C. diff kills 29,000 Americans each year and is often contracted in hospitals. 

How C. DIFF is Contracted

Dr. McCaughey noted: "C. diff is preventable through hospital cleanliness and proper procedures however, effective cleaning in hospitals and nursing homes is key."

A common misnomer around C. diff is that antibiotics are the cause. This is false. C. diff is caused by oral or fecal  contamination - traces of one patients C. diff gets into another patient as a result of poor cleaning. The contamination is invisible and lives on hospital room surfaces.

Dr. McCaughey also revealed that New Yorkers are one of the most affected by C. diff.  

"We see graphic warnings and signage throughout the hospital, enforcing doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to wash their hands often, but we don't see that same mandate for patients. We need too."

How to Prevent C. DIFF

  • Efficiently clean all surfaces around patients bedside and hospital room with bleach or disinfectant wipes

Mayo Clinic Reduced C. DIFF

Dr. Robert Orenstein, head of the Mayo Clinic Infection Prevention and Control team, instilled this prevention method throughout the hospital and was able to reduce the spread of infectious disease or C. diff by 85%. 

Dr. McCaughey: Hospital Hygiene

"Every hospital should make an effort to clean the surfaces around a patients bedside and hospital room once per day and that their hands are cleaned before every meal, If this is enforced, we will see a tremendous reduction of C. diff and other infectious disease in the near future."

Go to hospitalinfection.org to learn more.