C-Diff knows where you go when you’re feeling ill, and it is coming to kill you. C-Diff — Clostridium difficile — is bacterium that lives in your colon and it makes you intensively ill. Some health experts believe C-diff is more deadly than MRSA and, the most sickening part of C-Diff, is that is finds its best footing for infecting you in a hospital.
There’s good and bad news on the “superbug” front. In community hospitals in the Southeast, an easily spread bacterium appears to have overtaken the widely feared MRSA as the most common hospital-acquired infection. But a pilot project in Ohio found that pushing hard on simple things such as hand washing and thorough cleaning can lower rates of that bug significantly.Known as Clostridium difficile, or “C. diff,” the bacterium resides in the gut, is spread by contact and can cause painful intestinal infections and in some cases death. It’s primarily seen in those over 65, and relapses occur in a fourth of patients, despite treatment.
More than 90% of cases happen after antibiotic use, when the healthy flora of the gut are destroyed and C. diff can take up residence. C. difficile was 25% more common than MRSA in a study of 28 hospitals in the Southeast, says Becky Miller, an infectious-disease researcher at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. The proportions nationwide aren’t known.
Nosocomial infections — hospital acquired illnesses — are always a threat and C-diff stacks the deck against the infirm by attacking the very patients who need to most intensive medical intervention.
It certainly makes gloomy sense that hospitals are tar pits of disease and infections — a natural side effect of their reason for being — but as SuperBugs become stronger and more resilient to to everyday treatments, we must begin to wonder if there is a better way.
Is warehousing patients in hospitals and nursing homes the best way to fight disease and chronic infections?
Should we instead consider a better-managed, and more forceful, return to home care? When the ill among us are surrounded by family and friends — do they get better faster than being an anonymous body in a hospital bed?
Is a modern bedroom really less sanitary than a shared hospital room?