Medical Cleaning Challenge: C-Diff | Summit Janitorial Services

Aug 21, 2013

Clostridium Difficile Infection, commonly referred to as C-Diff, is a hospital acquired infection (HAI) that, as its name might suggest, is proving to be very difficult to deal with.

C-Diff is an anaerobic bacterium, producing severe diarrhea for those unfortunate enough to come in contact with it. For hospitals, it has proven particularly problematic, for several reasons:

  • It forms spores that cause contamination over large surface areas.
  • These spores are long-lasting.
  • Regular disinfectant can’t kill C-Diff. It takes high concentrations of bleach products to do the job.

Image Credit: iMedicalSchool at YouTube

C-Diff Classifications

C-Diff Infections are classified into three main categories:

  • Community
  • Hospital
  • Indeterminate

Image Credit: iMedicalSchool at YouTube

C-Diff produces two types of strains: Hypervirulent and Non-Hypervirulent.

The Hypervirulent strains are the more deadly of the two, producing higher recurrence, incidence, severity, and mortality rates than non-hypervirulent strains.

Image Credit: iMedicalSchool at YouTube

Increased Risk Factors

There are a number of conditions that may place people at a higher risk for C-Diff, including:

  • Advanced Age
  • Hospitalization
  • Antibiotic Exposure
  • Gi Surgery And Procedures
  • Antidepressants
  • Immunosuppression
  • IBD (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

Image Credit: iMedicalSchool at YouTube

Diagnosing C-Diff

C-Diff diagnoses are tricky to come by. While there are various options for detection, few of them are as fast and efficient as they need to be to isolate the problem effectively. For these reasons, the most commonly preferred test is the stool cytotoxin assay test.

Knowledge is Power: C-Diff Can Be Contained

Based on all indication and experience, it seems the best effort to prevent the spread of C-Diff is to have protective procedures on a large scale. In other words, it is best to get all the hospital staff on the same page to prevent the spread from occurring.

A great example of such a successful effort against C-Diff took place at The Jewish Hospital-Mercy Health, in Cincinnati. They put into action this four-point plan to prevent the spread of C-Diff, and the results were astonishing.

  1. Rapid Detection – Increased testing of symptoms helped to diagnose C-Diff
  2. New Cleaning Practices – New practices enhanced removal, with bleach-based products particularly emphasized.
  3. Staff Training – Increased knowledge helped to keep everyone on the same page.
  4. Drug Controls – Keeping in mind some of the common risk factors, connections were made and preventive practices were used – according to the medications prescribed.

Only three years after their initial efforts, infection rates at the hospital had decreased by 80 percent.

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