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Ontario C. difficile kills 62 patients; Hospital outbreak lasted 20 months

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  • Ontario C. difficile kills 62 patients; Hospital outbreak lasted 20 months


    C. difficile kills 62 patients; Hospital outbreak lasted 20 months
    Posted 33 mins ago

    Sixty-two patients at a Burlington, Ont., hospital died as a result of C. difficile infections during an outbreak of the superbug that lasted 20 months.

    A review of deaths by the Infection Prevention and Control Unit of the University Health Network in Toronto shows the outbreak ran from May 1, 2006, to Dec. 31, 2007.

    Aggressive control since November has driven infection rates lower then they were before the outbreak at Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital.

    There have been no new cases reported since April 15.

    Ontario Minister of Health George Smitherman's office says hospitals will be required to report C. difficile cases.

    Mandatory reporting and the ability to create benchmark control standards is considered a key tool to fight the virulent bug, blamed for about 2,000 deaths in Quebec hospitals since 2002.

    Infection control experts have been pressing for mandatory C. difficile reporting as is required in Quebec.

    Laurel Ostfield, Smitherman's press secretary, said the ministry is working with the Ontario Hospital Association to set out what information will be required.

    She could not say when reporting will become law, but Smitherman has said recently that reporting a list of the most common hospital infections will be mandatory by the year's end.

    Joseph Brant hospital said Wednesday 177 of 17,500 patients admitted during the outbreak were diagnosed with C. difficile and 91 died in the hospital.

    C. difficile caused the death of 30 patients and strongly contributed to the death of 32 more.

    It contributed somewhat to the deaths of 14 more patients and was considered unrelated in the deaths of 14.

    The role of C. difficile was unknown in one of the 91 deaths.

    The review was headed by Dr. Michael Gardam, director of infection, prevention and control at the Toronto network.

    He began consulting with the hospital on control measures when the hospital revealed the outbreak last fall.

    Hospital staff began contacting the families of those 91 patients on Tuesday to explain the review and the results and had reached all but 13 by noon Wednesday.
    Article ID# 1019759