Another Deadly Superbug? The Mayo Clinic May Have A Control For C.diff
Perhaps you've heard about Clostridium difficile or C. difficile, or C. diff. It's been spreading more and more every year through hospitals and other health care facilities to the point where in some regions, like the southeast U.S., it is even more aggressive than the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bug. But others can get it, even if they are generally healthy and not in a hospital setting.
C. diff is an interesting bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. It is a very toxic bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics, and may even be caused by long-term use of antibiotics. Being antibiotic-resistant makes C. diff an easy toxin to spread through hospitals, as the cleaning agents used, including the antiseptic hand cleaners in every hospital room, don't control its spread.
At the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Mayo Clinic reported great success in controlling the spread of C. diff in two high-risk hospital units. In its "Wipe Out C. difficile Project," Mayo switched its cleaning product from an antibacterial cleaner to a sporicidal bleach cleaner.
The results far exceeded the goals, according to Robert Orenstein, an infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic. The goal had been to achieve one 20-day period where no C. diff infection was hospital-acquired. But once that goal was achieved, the hospital staff continued its cleaning practices on the high-risk wards, and went 137 days - almost seven times its goal - without a hospital-transmitted C. diff occurrence.
Now, Mayo has expanded its pilot program to other areas of the hospital to next-level risk areas.