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C. difficile rates down at Burnaby General Hospital

By Jane Deacon

Hand washing (QMI photo)

Hand washing (QMI photo)

Burnaby Hospital has made significant progress in reducing C. difficile rates after multiple outbreaks in recent years.

Three years after news broke that 84 patients had died of exposure to the bacterium between 2009 and mid-2011, rates at the hospital have declined significantly.

In 2013-14, the infection rate was 5.4 cases per 10,000 patient days - a 65% decrease from 2011-12.

C. difficile is one of the most common causes of hospital-acquired infection and can cause severe diarrhea, nausea and intestinal conditions.

Dr. David Ostrow, interim president and CEO with Fraser Health Authority, credited the reduction to the work of hospital and health authority staff, who have implemented numerous prevention strategies.

"They have included enhanced cleaning measures, adherence to infection prevention and patrol best practices, improved hand hygiene and work with our physicians to ensure more appropriate use of antibiotics," he said.

Hand hygiene among hospital doctors, nurses and staff has played an important role, he added, with compliance rates now at 84%. Rates in 2011-12 measured at 59%.

The C. difficile rate across Fraser Health Authority Facilities is now at 4.7 cases per 10,000 patient days, below their target of six, although Ostrow added that work will continue to keep that number decreasing. 

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