Nearly 500,000 Americans experience clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections each year, and two-thirds of those cases are associated with an inpatient medical stay, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday.
C. difficile causes inflamed colons and often-deadly diarrhea. It is one of the leading deadly infectious diseases in the U.S.
Approximately 29,000 patients with C. difficile died just 30 days after their initial diagnosis in one year, according to a recent CDC study. Of those deaths, 15,000 were caused by C. difficile, and 80 percent of the deceased patients were 65 years or older.
Unnecessary use of antibiotics suppresses beneficial bacteria and makes patients more susceptible to C. difficile infection, the CDC said.
“C. difficile infections cause immense suffering and death for thousands of Americans each year,” Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said. “These infections can be prevented by improving antibiotic prescribing and by improving infection control in the health care system. CDC hopes to ramp up prevention of this deadly infection by supporting State Antibiotic Resistance Prevention Programs in all 50 states.”