Saturday, September 20, 2008

New superbug ("CDIF") is spreading among hospital patients

NBC Nightly news on Friday Sept. 19 reported on increasing public health concern about nosocomial infection in hospitals with Clostridium difficile (CDIF) (Wikipedia article) which seems to be mutating and behaving sometimes like a “superbug”. It can lead to severe diarrhea. The bacterium sheds spores which are resistant to some hand cleansers but responds to older and harsher common soaps in handwashing. Innocuous versions of the bacterium live in the intestinal tract normally, but use of antibiotics can kill off less hardly bacteria that would compete with it.

The Centers for Disease Control link is here.

In practice, bedridden patients are much more susceptible to all infections. When I had my acetabular fracture in 1998, I had minor bladder infection, controlled by Bactrim and Cipro, but occasional mild pneumonia and fever, which cleared immediately once I was able to get around a bit on crutches.

The report mentioned that surgical and hospital staffs were having to tighten hand washing and scrub procedures to control this infection, an issue well known from MRSA.

From personal observation, I’ve notice that a few male Caucasian surgeons actually shave their wrists as part of an infection control mechanism, I presume. That seems to be carrying things a bit far, and it might actually bring more bacteria to the skin.

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