What is C. difficile?
C. difficile (Clostridium difficile) is a bacteria that can be part of the normal bacteria in the large intestine and is one of the many bacteria that can be found in stool (a bowel movement).
A  C. difficile infection occurs when other good bacteria in the bowel are eliminated or decreased allowing the C. difficile bacteria to grow and produce toxin. The toxin produced can damage the bowel and cause diarrhea. C. difficile is one example of a hospital-acquired infection and is one of the most common infections found in hospitals and long-term care facilities. C. difficile has been a known cause of health care associated diarrhea for about 30 years.

Who is at risk for C. difficile?
Healthy people are not usually susceptible to C. difficile. Seniors, and people who have other illnesses or conditions being treated with antibiotics and certain other stomach medications, are at greater risk of an infection from C. difficile.

What are the symptoms of C. difficile?
The usual symptoms are mild but can be severe. Main symptoms are watery diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain /tenderness. In some cases there may not be diarrhea. Blood may or may not be present in the stools.

How do you get C. difficile?
C. difficile is the most common cause of hospital associated infectious diarrhea. Since it can be part of the normal bacteria that live in the large intestine, taking antibiotics can change the normal balance of bacteria in your large intestine making it easier for C. difficile to grow and cause an infection. Old age and the presence of other serious illnesses may increase the risk of C. difficile disease.

How does C. difficile spread?
When a person has C. difficile, the germs in the stool can soil surfaces such as toilets, handles, bedpans, or commode chairs. When touching these items, your hands can become soiled. If you then touch your mouth, you can swallow the germ. Your soiled hands can spread germs that can survive for a long time on other surfaces if not properly cleaned.

How is C. difficile treated?
Treatment depends on how sick you are. People with mild symptoms may not need treatment. For more severe disease, antibiotics are required.


What precautions are used to prevent the spread of C. difficile in the hospital?
If you are in the hospital and have C. difficile diarrhea, you will be put on contact precautions until you are free from diarrhea for at least two days. Your activities outside the room may be restricted. All health care staff who enter your room will wear a gown and gloves. Everyone MUST clean their hands when leaving your room.

How does Lake of the Woods District Hospital (LWDH) control the spread of C. difficile? 
The LWDH environmental cleaning is ongoing and conducts twice daily room cleaning for patients requiring Contact Precautions. Hospital grade disinfectants and sporacidal agents are used where necessary.  Our cleaning staff is involved in ongoing education and training of isolation practices,and room cleaning procedures as set out by the Provincial Infectious Disease Advisory Committee guidelines on best practice standards. Our cleaning staff is dedicated to keeping our hospital cleans and safe for our patients.

Does Lake of the Woods District Hospital  track C. difficile cases?
The LWDH conducts surveillance on a daily basis for hospital acquired infections including C. difficle and reports using the new standardized format for public reporting monthly.
The C. difficile infection rate is calculated as rate per 1,000 patient days.The “total patient day” represents the sum of the number of days during which services were provided to all inpatients during the given time period.

The rate is calculated as follows:

Number of new hospital acquired cases of c. difficile in our facility  x  1000
Total number of patient days (for one month)

NOTE: C. difficile rates may vary from month to month: the smaller the facility, the greater the rates may vary – this is because a change in even one case in a Small facility will cause the rate to go up or down considerably.