Study: Most patients treated for C. diff don't actually have the infection

A new study reveals that most patients treated with antibiotics for Clostridium Difficile (C. diff) did not actually have the infection, according to research presented at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, MedPage Today reported.

The study results, considered preliminary as they have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, indicate that lab results confirmed only 292 patients of the 1,971 patients treated for C. diff infection at a 240-bed hospital from February 2012 through November 2013 actually had the infection, the article stated.

All the patients were inpatients for three days and treated with vancomycin or metronidazole in IV or oral form.

Lead researcher Daniel Barone of Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa, in Mason City, and his team found that the rates of positive C. diff tests throughout the year were consistent, MedPage Today reported.

Researchers said pharmacists are leading a quality improvement project that will include an educational program to address the use of appropriate tests, medications, doses, frequency and duration of the infection.

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Presentation (CDC) announced that patients can find out how their local hospitals are working to prevent C. diff and MRSA bloodstream infections.

Earlier this year a nationwide survey from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology indicated that despite ramped-up efforts to prevent C. diff, infection rates and deaths remain at historic highs, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

In the survey, 70 percent of infection preventionists said their organizations have added infection-control interventions to stop the spread of C. diff, but only 42 percent saw the rates for the infection drop. Forty-three percent saw no decrease.

To learn more:
- read the MedPage Today article