Community-Acquired C. Difficile Infections On the Rise

Community-Acquired <i>C. Difficile</i> Infections
Community-Acquired C. Difficile Infections

(HealthDay News) — Almost half a million Americans were infected with the bacteria Clostridium difficile in 2011, and 29,000 died within a month of diagnosis, U.S. health officials say. The report is published in the February 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

For the report, researchers collected data on C. difficile infections in 10 areas of the United States in 2011. They wanted to know how many infections were related to health care facilities, such as hospitals and nursing homes, and how many were contracted in the community at large.

Two-thirds of C. difficile infections occurred in hospitals and nursing homes, the investigators found. However, 150,000 infections were community-associated, meaning they happened among those who had not been inpatients in a health care facility. The researchers estimated that there were 453,000 C. difficile infections in the United States that year. They calculated that women, whites, and those aged ≥65 were most likely to be infected. Moreover, the study authors estimated that 83,000 people experienced a first recurrence of C. difficile infection, and that 29,300 people died from the bacteria in 2011.

"Infections with C. difficile have become increasingly common over the last few decades, and are seen in patients in health care facilities as well as people in their communities," Michael Bell, MD, said at a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention press conference Wednesday.

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