By Ian Dipple 03/08 Updated: 03/08 10:08
THE NUMBER of cases of a superbug in Worcestershire's hospitals have more than halved over the last four years.
Reports of Clostridium Difficile, which can cause severe diarrhoea and other intestinal disease, have plummeted by over 67 per cent since April 2008. Just 65 cases which occurred more than 48 hours after admission were recorded at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust's sites, including the Alex, in 2011/12 compared with 198 four years ago.
But Helen Blanchard, director of nursing at the Trust, warned C Diff was on the rise again with 19 cases reported so far between April and June compared to a predicted 12. About four to six cases are being reported every month.
C Diff is caught in two ways. It occurs naturally in the gut of some people and develops when competing bacteria in the gut flora has been wiped out by antibiotics. It is also passed on from patient to patient in hospital.
Mrs Blanchard told a Trust board meeting last Wednesday (July 25) if they did not get back on track they risked being fined and added efforts were being refocused on good infection prevention and control, reducing environmental contamination by promptly isolating patients with diarrhoea and thorough cleaning of equipment and surrounding areas as well as prudent use of antibiotics.
Some board members questioned whether as the numbers were so small it was possible to drive them down further.
But Mrs Blanchard said: "I believe more can be done to reduce the number of incidences.
"If we were doing everything we could every day then I would say we had plateaued."
Medical director Dr Charles Ashton added: "The patient often expects antibiotics. This is an example of how it can actually be quite harmful when it is a viral infection."
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