Nanaimo Regional Hospital Struggling With Deadly Infection
Nanaimo Regional Hospital and Vancouver Island Regional Health Authority are struggling to deal with the latest deadly infection outbreak. The death toll with the latest C. difficile spread currently stands at two, but the deadly bacterium is spreading to others in the hospital
Bev Dobbyn, Vancouver Island Health Authority’s director of infection and prevention control, said as of Tuesday, there were 13 active C. difficile cases in the hospital – up from the original nine cases last week – including two patients who relapsed from earlier infections.
Recent Outbreaks of Clostridium difficile at NRGH
- current outbreak two dead 13 sick and spreading
- November 2009 one dead and 15 sick
- April 2008 three dead unknown number sick
An unnamed cleaner spoke with The Daily News(Nanaimo) in August of 2008 expressing frustration at the handling of the health crisis.
Being continually short staffed, said the woman, there is no doubt in her mind the cleaning at NRGH remains inadequate. On Thursday the double cleaning of rooms was ordered, with no additional staff to assist.
What is Clostridium difficile(C. difficile)?
C. difficile is a commonly occuring bacterium that often resides in healthy persons guts. It normally does not cause problems because the other bacteria in the gut compete with it and keep the numbers of C. difficile in check. This may be changing as strains resistant to most antibiotics seem to be emerging.
When antibiotics are used, the 'good guys' in the gut and colon are killed off leaving opportunities for C. difficile to prosper.
When C. difficile prospers in a person's gut symptoms of diarrhea, fever, nausea and abdominal pain may occur. Sometimes the toxins that produce the symptoms clear up on their own, but for the unlucky, surgery to remove part of the colon may be necessary. For the very unlucky, death is the end result.
C. difficile resides in the guts. It is spread by feces contaminated surfaces. The first line of defense against the spread of this bacterium is cleanliness. Thorough hand washing will slow down the spread of this nasty 'bug'. This applies to care givers moving between patients as well as visitors to the wards. Shared toilet facilities must be rigorously cleaned.
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