C. diff threat growing across the U.S.

Clostridium difficile has long been known to providers as a common but easily-treated bug whose symptoms aren't a big deal. However, of late a drug-resistant strain of C. diff has become more common, posing far greater risks to patients. In fact, some health officials now rank C. diff on par with MRSA as a top infection acquired in hospitals. And it's tough to fight; typical germicides and alcohol sanitizers don't kill it, nor does routine cleaning of surfaces.

Overall C. diff infections in the U.S. have more than doubled since 2000. The NAP1 type of the bacteria, which produces 20 times the toxins of a more benign form, can cause devastating symptoms that can sometimes be lethal. In 2005, almost 10 percent of the patients who were diagnosed as having the bug died. However, some officials think the infection and death rates from C. diff may be much higher, as providers currently aren't required to report the presence of the bug.

To learn more about C. diff's spread:
- read this MSNBC.com article

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