Clostridium difficile

What is clostridium difficile?

Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a common bacterium that is found in the environment and occurs naturally in some people. Although people usually associate it with healthcare facilities, it actually doesn't originate in hospitals and can be part of the normal bacteria in the bowel and is one of the many bacteria that can be found in a bowel movement.

How does a C. difficile infection occur?

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 health care facilities. C. difficile has been a known cause of health care associated diarrhea for about 30 years.

Surveillance at Holland Bloorview

The C. difficile infection rate is calculated as a rate per 1,000 patient days.

The “total patient days” represents the sum of the number of days during which services were provided to all inpatients during the given time period.

Infants under the age of one are not included.

The method of calculation of the C. difficile rate for the reporting period (on a monthly basis) is:

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

For smaller facilities that have only a small inpatient population, like Holland Bloorview, C. difficile rates may vary from month to month.  In fact, the smaller the facility, the greater the rates will vary, because a change in even one case in a small facility will cause the rate to go up or down considerably.


Clostridium difficile surveillance 2018

Clostridium difficile surveillance 2017

Clostridium difficile surveillance 2016

Clostridium difficile surveillance 2015

Clostridium difficile surveillance 2014

Clostridium difficile surveillance 2013

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