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C. diff Infection Source Unclear

Only a quarter of Clostridium difficile infections in one hospital system were traced to contact with a symptomatic patient.

By | February 7, 2012

Clostridium difficileWIKIMEDIA COMMONS, CDC / LOIS S. WIGGS

Only 25 percent of hospital-associated Clostridium difficile infections can be traced to contact with a symptomatic patient in one particular hospital system, according to new research. Surveying  recent diarrhea cases in one county in England, the study, published in PLoS Medicine today (February 7), throws the effectiveness of costly prevention strategies typically employed by hospitals into doubt.

The study is “ambitious and far-reaching in its conclusions,” said Kent Sepkowitz, a clinical epidemiologist at Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital in New York who was not involved in the research. “It shakes the foundation of what we understood” about hospital-associated C. diff infections.

C. difficile is a spore-forming bacterial species associated with severe, sometimes fatal, diarrhea. It’s unclear how many healthy, asymptomatic adults carry C. diff in their colons, but in times of ill health, and especially after broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment, it can overgrow and cause disease. C. diff produces several types of toxins—A, B and CDT. Most strains produce only one, but the hypervirulent O27 strain, which caused epidemics of C. diff infection during the early 2000s, can produce all three. C. diff can remain viable in the environment for long periods of time after generating spores that are resistant to heat, alcohol-based disinfectants, and routine surface cleaning. C. diff outbreaks are recurrent problems in hospitals and elderly care facilities, but can also be “community-acquired”—meaning infections occur outside of hospitals.

In the United Kingdom, where C. diff reporting has been mandatory since 2007, its prevalence is an indicator of hospital quality, and hospitals with high rates of C. diff are fined, said study co-author Tim Peto of the University of Oxford. The study results suggest that preventive steps, like hand washing and isolation of infected patients, may only address about a quarter of C. diff infections in some hospitals.

In order to trace the connections between infected hospital patients, the researchers focused on Oxfordshire, a county with a population of about 600,000 in the UK, where almost all health care is provided by one hospital system, which relies on one lab to run diagnostic tests for C. difficile.  Over the course of two and half years, samples from all patients with diarrhea, and most patients over 65, were sent to this central facility. Hospitals as well as general practitioners sent samples. The researchers also had access to data on patient locations and movements. Stool samples were screened for C. diff toxins, positive samples were cultured, and the isolates genotyped based on several loci.

Genotyping allowed Peto and his colleagues to trace the path of specific strains, and the hospital ward data gave insight into possible instances of contact between patients. Although rates of infection varied by specialty (oncology vs. general surgery, for example), only a quarter of cases could be traced back to a known infected patient.

Peto said he suspects that instead of encountering C. diff upon entering the hospital, most patients who fell ill carried it in with them. Then, poor health and antibiotic treatment combined to encourage C. diff to overrun the intestines and cause disease. “You blame the hospital,” Peto explained, “but that’s were you go when you’re ill.”

It’s the inability to ascertain the relative impact of asymptomatic carriers that worries Louis Valiquette, an epidemiologist at Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec who did not participate in the study. In healthy adults, only about 3-5 percent will have C. diff in their stool, Valiquette explained, but that rate jumps to more than 40 percent in people who have contact with hospital environments. Though he agreed that the study’s scope and felt the results were impressive, Valiquette said that the data is limited by the standard of preventive practices used in the surveyed hospitals. It’s unclear, Valiquette said, whether the results could be replicated in hospitals with different practices.

Even if only 25 percent of C. diff infections are acquired inside the hospital, it’s a worrisome rate, and doesn’t argue against stringent control measures, added Valiquette.

In contrast, Sepkowitz sees in the results a recommendation for restraint. Most C. diff cases are associated with antibiotic treatment, meaning that regardless of the route of acquisition, disease might be avoided with more judicious use of the drugs.

Peto’s team is now performing whole genome sequencing of C. diff strains and focusing on community acquired C. difficile infection.

Much about C. diff infection and epidemiology is unknown, said Peto. The hypervirulent strain, O27, which was most prevalent at the study’s inception, almost never pops up anymore, Peto said. Whether C. diff mutated away from virulence, or new, less-virulent strains replaced O27, is unclear. Whole genome sequencing will also help researchers hoping to identify virulence-conferring mutations. Sepkowitz hopes that future research brings a deeper understanding of C. diff biology, its incubation time and the “magic moment” when spores become viable.

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Avatar of: jhnycmltly

jhnycmltly

Posts: 65

February 8, 2012

"Only 25 percent of hospital-associated Clostridium difficile infections can be traced to contact with a symptomatic patient in one particular hospital system"

They have recently shown a decrease of infection when everyone wears masks and wash their hands.
IS the infection coming FROM the 'staff' at the hospitals ?
"In hospital settings, spores spread from patient-to-patient, as well as from hospital staff to patient."

Avatar of: Adverticom, Inc.

Adverticom, Inc.

Posts: 1

February 8, 2012

Very nice posts, It's very informed & helpfull, i' like it, keep blogging spirit. Don't forget to visit my web http://advertorial.name, & follow my twitter @adverticom., okey, Thanks.

Avatar of: edo_mcgowan

edo_mcgowan

Posts: 19

February 8, 2012

It has been long known that sewer plants are systems that bring together numerous pathogens which in nature might never meet. This crowding allows for rapid gene exchange and enhancement of both antibiotic resistance and virulence. The US EPA did a major study of this 30 years ago documenting that sewer plants were a principal source of antibiotic resistance, but later hid the results because of the adverse implications for the wastewater industry. Thus, when presumabely treated wastewater is then discharged to rivers that are common drinking water sources, these resistant hyper virulent pathogens will be found in the drinking water and that also has been well documented. But, again, the industry and regulators are defensive about these facts. Wikipedia notes that "Unplanned Indirect Potable Use[21]
has existed even before the introduction of reclaimed water. Many
cities already use water from rivers that contain effluent discharged
from upstream sewage treatment plants. There are many large towns on the
River Thames upstream of London (Oxford, Reading, Swindon, Bracknell) that discharge their treated sewage into the river, which is used to supply London with water downstream.

Thus, as to C. diff, one might look to one's water source, the establishment of carrier states bringing the bacterium into hospitals and this spreading that genetic material within hospitals.

This spread through out the community may also occur with the use of reclaimed water, often used for irrigating municipal greenscapes and lawns. Thus walking across an lawn and then into a hospital warrants careful review. The teaching hospital in Santa Barbara has a lawn irrigated with reclaimed (recycled) water. The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) did a major study on reclaimed water showing that the standard indicator bacteria often used to certify that water was not actually reflecting the true human risk. That report noted: "The failure of measurements of single
indicator organism to correlate with pathogens
suggests that public health is not adequately protected by simple
monitoring
schemes based on detection of a single indicator,
particularly at the detection limits routinely employed".
See: http://aem.asm.org/content/71/.... Interesting the sewer plant in Santa Barbara was one of the test sites and that plant was given low marks. We also ran disk diffusion studies on that recycled water and found multi-drug resistant bacteria in the finished delivered water.

Thus, the upshot of this comment is---look at your sewer plants, where and into what they discharge, and use of reclaimed (recycled) water. Think outside of the box.

Dr Edo McGowan, Medical geo-hydrology

Avatar of: Howard

Howard

Posts: 1457

February 8, 2012

A fecal transplant (FT) pretty much saved my uncle's life. He had the C. diff colitis infection and was in progressive decline. About 3 days after the FT he started feeling normal again…. get the word out!

I've just interviewed a Dr. in Oregon that does Fecal Microbial Therapy ... also a DIY Fecal Transplant overview here: http://fecaltransplant.info/di...

 

Visit my advocacy blog for more information at http://fecaltransplant.info

or www [dot] fecaltransplant [dot] info

Avatar of: M K

M K

Posts: 1

February 8, 2012

How many with  C. diff had been on or were still on PPIs (proton pump inhibitors)?  In light of today's FDA MedWatch, that's a variable that perhaps should be screened for.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

"Only 25 percent of hospital-associated Clostridium difficile infections can be traced to contact with a symptomatic patient in one particular hospital system"

They have recently shown a decrease of infection when everyone wears masks and wash their hands.
IS the infection coming FROM the 'staff' at the hospitals ?
"In hospital settings, spores spread from patient-to-patient, as well as from hospital staff to patient."

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

Very nice posts, It's very informed & helpfull, i' like it, keep blogging spirit. Don't forget to visit my web http://advertorial.name, & follow my twitter @adverticom., okey, Thanks.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

It has been long known that sewer plants are systems that bring together numerous pathogens which in nature might never meet. This crowding allows for rapid gene exchange and enhancement of both antibiotic resistance and virulence. The US EPA did a major study of this 30 years ago documenting that sewer plants were a principal source of antibiotic resistance, but later hid the results because of the adverse implications for the wastewater industry. Thus, when presumabely treated wastewater is then discharged to rivers that are common drinking water sources, these resistant hyper virulent pathogens will be found in the drinking water and that also has been well documented. But, again, the industry and regulators are defensive about these facts. Wikipedia notes that "Unplanned Indirect Potable Use[21]
has existed even before the introduction of reclaimed water. Many
cities already use water from rivers that contain effluent discharged
from upstream sewage treatment plants. There are many large towns on the
River Thames upstream of London (Oxford, Reading, Swindon, Bracknell) that discharge their treated sewage into the river, which is used to supply London with water downstream.

Thus, as to C. diff, one might look to one's water source, the establishment of carrier states bringing the bacterium into hospitals and this spreading that genetic material within hospitals.

This spread through out the community may also occur with the use of reclaimed water, often used for irrigating municipal greenscapes and lawns. Thus walking across an lawn and then into a hospital warrants careful review. The teaching hospital in Santa Barbara has a lawn irrigated with reclaimed (recycled) water. The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) did a major study on reclaimed water showing that the standard indicator bacteria often used to certify that water was not actually reflecting the true human risk. That report noted: "The failure of measurements of single
indicator organism to correlate with pathogens
suggests that public health is not adequately protected by simple
monitoring
schemes based on detection of a single indicator,
particularly at the detection limits routinely employed".
See: http://aem.asm.org/content/71/.... Interesting the sewer plant in Santa Barbara was one of the test sites and that plant was given low marks. We also ran disk diffusion studies on that recycled water and found multi-drug resistant bacteria in the finished delivered water.

Thus, the upshot of this comment is---look at your sewer plants, where and into what they discharge, and use of reclaimed (recycled) water. Think outside of the box.

Dr Edo McGowan, Medical geo-hydrology

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

A fecal transplant (FT) pretty much saved my uncle's life. He had the C. diff colitis infection and was in progressive decline. About 3 days after the FT he started feeling normal again…. get the word out!

I've just interviewed a Dr. in Oregon that does Fecal Microbial Therapy ... also a DIY Fecal Transplant overview here: http://fecaltransplant.info/di...

 

Visit my advocacy blog for more information at http://fecaltransplant.info

or www [dot] fecaltransplant [dot] info

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

How many with  C. diff had been on or were still on PPIs (proton pump inhibitors)?  In light of today's FDA MedWatch, that's a variable that perhaps should be screened for.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

"Only 25 percent of hospital-associated Clostridium difficile infections can be traced to contact with a symptomatic patient in one particular hospital system"

They have recently shown a decrease of infection when everyone wears masks and wash their hands.
IS the infection coming FROM the 'staff' at the hospitals ?
"In hospital settings, spores spread from patient-to-patient, as well as from hospital staff to patient."

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

Very nice posts, It's very informed & helpfull, i' like it, keep blogging spirit. Don't forget to visit my web http://advertorial.name, & follow my twitter @adverticom., okey, Thanks.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

It has been long known that sewer plants are systems that bring together numerous pathogens which in nature might never meet. This crowding allows for rapid gene exchange and enhancement of both antibiotic resistance and virulence. The US EPA did a major study of this 30 years ago documenting that sewer plants were a principal source of antibiotic resistance, but later hid the results because of the adverse implications for the wastewater industry. Thus, when presumabely treated wastewater is then discharged to rivers that are common drinking water sources, these resistant hyper virulent pathogens will be found in the drinking water and that also has been well documented. But, again, the industry and regulators are defensive about these facts. Wikipedia notes that "Unplanned Indirect Potable Use[21]
has existed even before the introduction of reclaimed water. Many
cities already use water from rivers that contain effluent discharged
from upstream sewage treatment plants. There are many large towns on the
River Thames upstream of London (Oxford, Reading, Swindon, Bracknell) that discharge their treated sewage into the river, which is used to supply London with water downstream.

Thus, as to C. diff, one might look to one's water source, the establishment of carrier states bringing the bacterium into hospitals and this spreading that genetic material within hospitals.

This spread through out the community may also occur with the use of reclaimed water, often used for irrigating municipal greenscapes and lawns. Thus walking across an lawn and then into a hospital warrants careful review. The teaching hospital in Santa Barbara has a lawn irrigated with reclaimed (recycled) water. The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) did a major study on reclaimed water showing that the standard indicator bacteria often used to certify that water was not actually reflecting the true human risk. That report noted: "The failure of measurements of single
indicator organism to correlate with pathogens
suggests that public health is not adequately protected by simple
monitoring
schemes based on detection of a single indicator,
particularly at the detection limits routinely employed".
See: http://aem.asm.org/content/71/.... Interesting the sewer plant in Santa Barbara was one of the test sites and that plant was given low marks. We also ran disk diffusion studies on that recycled water and found multi-drug resistant bacteria in the finished delivered water.

Thus, the upshot of this comment is---look at your sewer plants, where and into what they discharge, and use of reclaimed (recycled) water. Think outside of the box.

Dr Edo McGowan, Medical geo-hydrology

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

A fecal transplant (FT) pretty much saved my uncle's life. He had the C. diff colitis infection and was in progressive decline. About 3 days after the FT he started feeling normal again…. get the word out!

I've just interviewed a Dr. in Oregon that does Fecal Microbial Therapy ... also a DIY Fecal Transplant overview here: http://fecaltransplant.info/di...

 

Visit my advocacy blog for more information at http://fecaltransplant.info

or www [dot] fecaltransplant [dot] info

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 8, 2012

How many with  C. diff had been on or were still on PPIs (proton pump inhibitors)?  In light of today's FDA MedWatch, that's a variable that perhaps should be screened for.

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