Community associated C.difficile infection triggered by prior antibiotic use and ED visit

In a recent study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based in the United States of America (USA), it has been seen that things such as earlier antibiotic use as well as visits to the emergency departments (EDs) could heighten the risk of Clostridium difficile (C.difficile) infections among people.

What are the researchers saying?

Researchers are of the opinion that use of antibiotics can be regarded as a basic risk factor in cases such as these. This also indicates the fact that there is an extremely important need to keep going with efforts that would help promote stewardship in the domain of outpatient antibiotic usage.

Dr. Alice Y Guh, who is associated with the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, has stated that a significant amount of work needs to be put in with regard to practices that are followed while prescribing medicines to outpatients. There is also a need to make sure that the providers are suggesting the right antibiotic medicines for the condition that a patient might be in.

The findings of the study

In the study, it was found that patients who fell ill with such infection were normally exposed to antibiotics 12 weeks before said illness occurred. This has been seen particularly in case of antibiotic medicines such as cephalosporin, fluoroquinolone, clindamycin, and beta-lactam and/or beta-lactamase inhibitor combination. In fact, the period of illness onset was also found to be similar for people who were treated at an ED. In fact, the chance of suffering from C.difficile infection is just the same in case of patients suffering from ailments such as cardiac diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases, and chronic kidney diseases. Researchers have also stated, based on their findings, that there is a definite connection between being treated at EDs and suffering from the C.difficile infection.

At times, in these cases, there were certain patients who had not consumed any antibiotic. This would seem to suggest that the very environment in these healthcare facilities act as ideal breeding grounds for such infection.

Why are EDs at greater risk?

As the researchers have stated, the EDs do handle a lot more patients than other settings where outpatients are treated. This means that there is always a greater chance that patients suffering from an infection caused by C.difficile coming here to get treated. Apart from this, there are other problems to deal with such as greater frequency of patients and greater environmental shedding.

This means that the EDs have lesser ability to clean their environment and disinfect the patients in a more effective way. As such, these patients and the entire environment in general act as favorable breeding grounds for said infection. They make it easier for the infection to be transmitted from one host body to another.
For this study, the researchers worked in more than 10 sites where the patients were older or equal to 18 years of age. They did not have any history of having suffered from C.difficile infection but had either tested positive for the same at an outpatient facility or had contracted it within three days of being hospitalized.

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