C. difficile Hits St. Catharines, Ontario Hospital

An outbreak of the deadly C. difficile bacteria was declared on May 28th, 2011 at the Niagara Health Systems’ St. Catharines General in Ontario, Canada. To date there have been 30 confirmed cases and 5 deaths (a 6th death was confirmed, however contracted the disease outside of the facility) associated with the outbreak with 19 still hospitalized. Clostridium difficile commonly develops in health-care settings in elderly patients and those taking certain antibiotics. The infection can spread from person-to-person, on contaminated equipment, or on the hands of doctors, nurses, and other providers. Symptoms of infection include watery diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, and nausea. As part of standard outbreak control measures, the Niagara Health System has implemented increased hand-washing and closer monitoring of antibiotic use at the Hospital. Strict restrictions have also been placed on visitors. The hours open to visitors have been reduced, and visitors to the hospital are not allowed to visit multiple patient rooms.  

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