Clostridium Difficile Outbreak in Multiple Ontario Hospitals

A recent rise in C.difficile cases across multiple hospitals in Ontario, Canada has led to several outbreak declarations of thisconcerning and increasingly common hospital-acquired infection. Kingston General Hospital reported 12 cases over the past month, a 50% increase over the normal incidence of 8 cases per 30 days. In southern Ontario, hospitals under the umbrella of Niagara Health Systems have reported 61 cases in the past 3 months. The bacterium has caused at least 31 deaths in the Niagara-region since May. Shortly after announcement of the outbreak by the Ontario government, Queensway-Carleton Hospital in west Ottawa also announced that it is currently dealing with 5 cases of its own. C.difficile generally infects older hospital patients and typically occurs after use of antibiotic medication. It can cause severe diarrhea, inflammation of the colon and death. The responsibility of keeping the bug under control rests on both the medical facilities and the public. While physicians must prescribe more targeted doses of antibiotics (instead of general drugs) and hospitals must be even more vigilant in cleaning up infected rooms, the public must also practice discernment and avoid visiting the hospital if they are unwell and make use of hand-cleaning stations when entering and exiting the hospital.  

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