Superbug hits Canadian hospitals

  1. Superbug hits Canadian hospitals

    June 6, 2004 - 10:30AM

    Hospitals in two major Canadian cities have been hit by a superbug which has claimed more Canadian lives than SARS, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

    The bug - clostridium difficile - strikes at the colon, producing a toxin that can cause severe diarrhoea and fever, the Journal reports.

    It usually infects people after they've taken antibiotics and in serious cases patients are forced to have their intestines removed.

    The Journal says at least 79 people in Montreal and 10 in Calgary may have died after being infected by the bug. Patients in Montreal contracted the infection in 2003 or early 2004.

    However, one medical expert disputed the Journal's figures.

    Francoise Chagnon, head of professional services at the McGill University Health Centre, told CBC News that only 36 people had so far died from the bug, compared to 44 deaths due to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in Canada.

    Nevertheless, another expert, Sandra Dial, an intensive care physician at the Montreal Chest Institute who helped compile the figures for the Canadian Medical Association, said: "It clearly is something worse than we've seen before.

    "It's a new situation so I think patients should be made aware."

    The CMA says the bacteria form spores that can survive on contaminated surfaces for days or weeks and are resistant to common disinfectants.

    The CMA says the bug is spread through contaminated surfaces in hospitals or when healthcare workers unintentionally transmit it to patients.
  2. Visit nursebedlam profile page

    About nursebedlam

    Joined: Jan '04; Posts: 5,016; Likes: 14


  3. by   oramar
    Hasn't it been around for at least 40 years.
  4. by   lalaxton
    I don't think they are saying C Diff is something new, just sounds like this is an unussual number of people are being affected. Maybe a new strain??
  5. by   mattsmom81
    Yup...the bugs seem to be winning. :uhoh21:
  6. by   Lys
    I wondered about this when I saw it too.

    Sounds as if it's a slightly more virulent strain...but they make it sound like it's a totally unheard of disease that's sweeping the nation (dear lord I hope not *lol*).

    On the med unit I worked on last term, it wasn't unusual to have 3 or 4 pts of roughly 30 infected with C. Diff...Is this roughly the same for the rest of you?
  7. by   alli
    I work at a hospital in Canada that has been in the news lately. I have worked there for about 4 years and in the past year and a half C-Diff seems to have become more virulent. Being treated with antibiotics (PO, IV and enemas!). I have not seen any deaths related to C-Diff on my unit but in some instances it was necessary to put in a permanent colostomy! At the most there were 4 or 5 cases of C-Diff on the unit (last year), but usually there are 0-2 cases.
    C-Diff is now being seen as very dangerous, whereas in the past it was just seen as a lot of smelly mucousy diarrhea.