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    Are Hospitals Doing Enough to Fight C. diff?

    Survey Shows More Steps Are Needed to Curb the Spread of C. diff Infections

    Strategies to Fight C. diff continued...

    "We are pleased to see that many health care institutions have strengthened their efforts to combat CDI (C. diff infection) and that many have seen declines due to these added measures," says Kathy Wayne, chief executive officer of the APIC. "But we are concerned that three out of four respondents may not have adequate staff and resources to protect patients. We had hoped that the infection prevention positions and resources that were eliminated during the economic downturn would have been replaced by this time."

    The APIC report says antimicrobial stewardship could be improved, and 40% of respondents said programs promoting the judicious use of antimicrobials are not in place. Only a third said monitoring and evaluation of antimicrobial use have increased in the past 18 months.

    "Because up to 90% of patients with symptomatic C. diff infection have previously received antibiotics, stewardship programs that seek to limit inappropriate use of these agents play an important role in C. diff infection prevention efforts and are necessary to prevent antimicrobial resistance, which is a growing worldwide concern," Cathryn L. Murphy, PhD, RN, the APIC's 2010 president, says in a news release. "Further research is needed to develop effective stewardship programs."

    The news release, citing the World Health Organization as its source, says that on any given day, more than 1.4 million people are affected by a health-care-associated infection. These are associated with an estimated 99,000 deaths per year in the U.S., and cost between $30 billion and $40 billion annually.

    The online survey was made available to 13,000 members of the APIC; about 1,800 took the survey.

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