10 things to know about C. difficile

Clostridium difficile is a dangerous, and often fatal, infection plaguing nearly half a million U.S. people annually, according to CDC 2011 data.

Here are 10 things to know about the infection:

1. Following their initial C. diff infection, almost 29,000 patients die within 30 days. Almost 15,000 of these deaths are directly attributable to the infection, according to estimates.

2. Americans aged 65 or older comprise more than 80 percent of C. diff-related fatalities.

4. Annually, the infection costs the U.S. economy $4.8 billion.

5. Twenty percent of patients with the infection had a recurrence within 30 days of diagnosis and one out of every nine patients aged 65 or older died from the infection within this time frame.

6. Patients are more at risk of developing C. diff when taking antibiotics. Recent literature indicates between 30 percent and 50 percent of antibiotics that hospitals prescribe are unnecessary or incorrect.  

7. Annually, more than 100,000 nursing home residents develop C. diff.

8. Nearly 66 percent of these infections related to an inpatient stay at a healthcare facility.

9. Both women and Caucasian people are at increased risk of developing C. diff.  

10. Researchers found when England launched a nationwide program to implement stricter hospital sanitation and antibiotic prescription controls, the rate of C. diff infection fell 80 percent.

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