Superbug killed 29,000 people in U.S. in 2011

The antibiotic-resistant superbug Clostridium difficile was responsible for nearly half a million infections and about 29,000 deaths in 2011, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The study, which researchers conducted in 10 different geographic areas in the United States, found that nearly 66 percent of C diff. infections were healthcare-associated, though only 24 percent had onset during hospitalization. Healthcare-associated infections were higher in all regions studied except Minnesota, where researchers note the area studied was primarily rural. This ties in with another recent study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, which found incidence of C diff. infection is higher among patients who had contact with other patients who were given antibiotics while housed in the same hospital ward. "Continued surveillance for C difficile infection will be needed to monitor progress toward prevention," researchers in the NEJM study conclude. Study abstract