May 24, 2006

Ohio Releases New Data on Deadly C-diff Bacterium

Left: Clostridium difficile

(Columbus, OH) Beginning in January, the Ohio Department of Health began requiring health care providers and long-term residential facilities to report cases of Clostridium difficile, commonly known as C-diff.

The bacterium can cause severe diarrhea, colitis and in some cases, death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a new, more aggressive strain of the bacterium has evolved that is resistant to many of the traditional antibiotic treatments.

There were 3,246 new cases of C-diff reported to the ODH in the first three months of this year, and 1,715 recurrent cases in the same period.

In Lucas County, 114 new cases of C-diff were reported by area hospitals and nursing homes from January through March, with 62 recurrent cases reported.

C-diff was the source of as many as 21 deaths in Cleveland-area hospitals in 2005 and was identified as the cause of more than 100 deaths at a hospital in Quebec, Canada.

The results of the first quarter reporting will help the state better monitor C-diff outbreaks in the future, according to Jay Carey of the Ohio Department of Health.

"Mandatory reporting of C-diff cases helps establish a baseline for future reference," he said. "In the past we would hear anecdotal evidence of outbreaks, but we did not have a gauge with which to measure what typical levels of C-diff should be."

Carey said the department is considering whether to continue the mandatory reporting past the original six-month trial.

Summit County had the highest rate of infection in the first quarter of 2006, with 4.29 new cases of C-diff per 1,000 people. Lucas County had a rate of 2.53 cases per 1,000 people.

Carey cautioned against reading too much into these statistics.

"Some counties will report higher rates simply because more hospital and nursing home facilities exist there," he said. Wood County, with only seven reported cases and just one hospital, has an artificially low rate when compared with the eight hospitals in Lucas County."

In addition, county statistics can be skewed by results from one facility, he said. An outbreak in one Mahoning County nursing home in late January in which 19 patients contracted C-diff accounted for almost 23 percent of the county's cases.

Carey said the spread of the antibiotic-resistant strain of C-diff has forced the state of Ohio to remain on guard.

This article is also available on the Toledo Free Press website.


dusty said...

ummm..I noticed this post has no comments..

Is this something I should worry about? I have no clue about C-diff.

historymike said...

C-diff is a nasty little intestinal bug that causes some people a great deal of trouble, while others carry it without any problems.

It is most problematic for the elderly and people with weakened immunse systems.

Relatively healthy people who have taken antibiotics recently are also at risk, since antibiotics sometimes create favorable conditions for C-diff to multiply in the intestinal tract.

The biggest fear with C-diff is that a new, antibiotic-resistant strain is appearing.

Dariush said...

Anything "intestinal" or "gastro", nevermind "gastro-intestinal" is ... well, put it this way.

I wouldn't wish a gastro-intestinal infection on my worst enemy.

I've picked up two of them at work the last several years.

The first time, before I got to the doctor, I lost a large percentage of water in my body and was so weak and dehydrated that I could barely stand, walk, talk or do much of anything.

The second time, only a few months ago, I'd come home from work and was working on my computer when, all of a sudden, for no reason that I could discern, I started sweating all over my body... and I mean buckets. Sweat was just pouring out of me, I turned deathly pale, and, as with before, all the strength and vitality felt like it had just been sucked right out of me.

I literally had to crawl to the bathroom.

It wasn't until I puked a couple of times, several hours later, that I started to feel better. That, plus the Cipro and the nasty, sickly-sweet, Kool-Aid-ish "rehydration" drink that the Doc gave me.

Hooda Thunkit said...

So, because it is Antibiotic resistant, the practicle options are:

1. Ride it out until the body adapts to or fights off the bug.


2. Die?

Is that about it?

historymike said...

There are some new, expensive antibiotics coming out, Hooda.

Also, Vancomycin is still effective against the tougher C-diff strain.

But if you are ill, and C-diff attacks, better get out the Rosary.

The good news is that, if diagnosed early, survival rates are much higher. It is when people get dehydrated and have drops in electrolyte levels that C-diff can be so deadly.

Hooda Thunkit said...


Lust like in Wells' Halloween spoof so many years ago; it’s the littlest critters that ended up being the biggest enemy.

Only, that time, it was the Martians that succumbed in the end.

Kaeka said...

Dad had this disgusting disease. First symptoms on Tuesday, Buried him the following Tuesday!

Anonymous said...

Hi folks. Im up here in Lenawee County, Michigan. Healthy 44 year old female, came down with C Diff after being given too many antibiotics for sinus. I swear they are trying to kill me here...5 rounds of unnecessary antibiotics due to false "negatives" from labwork. Was even hospitalized and lab'd, sent home with, you guessed it..cipro. Finishing round one of Flagyl today and praying. Was so glad to see this blog, one would think it was a military top secret code word around here, NO ONE knows a thing about it. This is one killer bug that is getting no media attention, at least here. Ive scoured the web for two months - Ive had alot of time on my hands because Im bedridden. if anyone wants good info, although its enough to make one even more depressed. Be very careful y'all, this isnt limited to geriatric inpatients, the docs just simply don't know HOW to cure it. Thanks for the venting space! (any suggestions or referrals greatly appreciated)