UK: Clostridium Difficile Infections Continue To Fall

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Latest reported C. difficile figures show that between October to December 2008 there were 6,257 cases recorded in patients aged 65 years and over.

This represents a fall of 11% in this age group from the previous quarter, July to September 2008, when the total was 7,062.

This also represents a fall of 38% from the same quarter in 2007 when 10,012 cases were recorded in patients aged 65 years and over, between October and December.

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A Spokesperson from the Health Protection Agency said: "Cases of C. difficile have fallen again this quarter demonstrating how hard NHS staff are working to fight healthcare associated infections. However, to see ongoing reductions and to win the fight against C. difficile we cannot afford to take our eyes off the ball; winning the fight will only happen with continued dedication and hard work.

"Healthcare associated infections are a global problem and remain a challenge for all of us. Robust infection control and appropriate use of antibiotics remain key to tackling infections such as C. difficile.

"It is important to remember that some healthcare associated infections can arise as the result of the treatment of other life-threatening infections, and as such, can be difficult to avoid. The use of antibiotics in patients who are very sick can leave people susceptible to C. difficile which would normally be easily kept at bay in healthy people.

"However, this shouldn't lead to complacency around tackling the infections that are preventable and engaging in the battle to continually drive down rates of healthcare associated infections."

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