c-diff, contagious?

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    i did a search, and i still have some questions....the way our instructor explained it was...clostridium difficle is natural in the bowel and overgrows in the presence of anti-biotic therapy, chronic illness, ect. so, is it really contagious? as in, should their roomate be worried if they are not immunocompromised? or is it that it's contagious because it's so messy that it gets everywhere? some clarification would be nice....thanks
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    I think the mode of transmittion is in contact. People wash their hands, flush the toilet after they have wiped and it is left on the fixtures. Then the roomate if they arent isolated can pick up the bacteria causing an infection. Or it is picked up by staff off of fixtures who transmitt it to the neighboring patients. Which, most patients in the hospital are compromised because they are sick or have their systems working overtime to recover from surgery.
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    There are different strains of bacteria. For example, E coli can be a harmless, even beneficial bacteria; or it can be a strain that causes severe illness and death.

    The C. diff that we are worried about in the healthcare field is on that can cause severe illness, and yes, even death. It cannot be killed by the alcohol hand cleanser; you must wash your hands every time, with plenty of soap and running water. It must be manually removed.

    When we have someone who is c-diff positive, we try to keep them in a private room. It depends upon their status. If they are active, totally continent of bowel, and ther roommate is not as active, then the c-diff person uses the bathroom (better able to wash their hands, as well as immediately get rid of the infected BM) and the other person use the commode. If someone is confused, having BM all over the place, they will probably be in a private room.
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    C Diff is a Contact Isolation illness on most Oncology units.
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    As a previous poster stated, C.diff is not harmful in all instances, and it normally lives in the intestines. The strains that we worry about are the ones that are resistant to multiple antibiotics (or multiple classes of antibiotics). Many times patients develop these resistant infections as a result of long-term antibiotic therapy, and they can be spread to others. This is why it is important to practice infection control measures and put patients in contact isolation. I would also recommend having a separate pair of shoes for work and leaving them there if at all possible. It would be unfortunate if you were to inadventently spread this infection to someone in your household, especially young children or older people whose immune systems are not as strong.

    Here are some references:
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/id_CdiffFAQ_HCP.html
    http://nsweb.nursingspectrum.com/Nur...em.cfm?ID=2106
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    C-diff spores can live not only in the bathroom but on bedside tables, the curtain that seperates the pts..anything...we hope that the "active" pt with C-diff is washing his hands etc and we hope that the HCP who is taking care of the pt is also washing EVERY time they enter/leave the room regardless of what they are doing. It is best to keep them in their own room regardless but of course that never happens so we follow the same rule as above letting one use the BR and one a BSC. In the LTAC facility I work at once the pt is cleared of c-diff the room is "bombed" and the curtain changed. As always....HANDWASHING HANDWASHING HANDWASHING!!
    loriangel14 likes this.
  9. 0
    Quote from all4schwa
    i did a search, and i still have some questions....the way our instructor explained it was...clostridium difficle is natural in the bowel and overgrows in the presence of anti-biotic therapy, chronic illness, ect. so, is it really contagious? as in, should their roomate be worried if they are not immunocompromised? or is it that it's contagious because it's so messy that it gets everywhere? some clarification would be nice....thanks
    Any bacteria that is an opportunistic can be potentially harmful. Any nursing staff who handles anything contagious should ALWAYS follow agency protocol for precaution measures. During my experience I will never forget the stench of odor and I will always remember the principle, containment. Esp bacteria can mutate, you just never know what strains are out there.
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    we have several on a 25 bed hall in the LTC with c-diff. this is why i posed the question, all fingers are pointing to certain staff member who has a rep for not wanting to wear gloves, ect. i thought (hoped) it was just a coincedence that these residents all had it, they've been sick lately with antibiotics and what not....
    and the smell, ugh! i find it hard to believe anyone would go near it without being suited up...
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    I know from experience C-diff is horrible. I contracted it after I had my son 3 yrs ago. It was the day after delivery. They said it was from all the antibiotics that was given for strep-b, and a uti. They also told me it was very contagious!! That scared me since I had a newborn so I washed my hands raw. Anyway it took a month and two rounds of meds to get over the c-diff. On the up side it didn't take long to take off the baby weight
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    The c diff epidemic is exacerbated by the fact that hospitals are filthy. They have cut housekeeping budgets and staffs. They are all too happy to blame nurses for poor handwashing.
    Hygiene Queen, catlvr, wooh, and 1 other like this.


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