Bug linked to 17 hospital deaths

SUPERBUG C difficile is being linked to 17 deaths at one of the region's hospitals.The outbreak has been confirmed at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.

By Jonathan Barnes

SUPERBUG C difficile is being linked to 17 deaths at one of the region's hospitals.

The outbreak has been confirmed at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.

Nick Coveney, director of nursing and patient services at the hospital, said: “We have traditionally had very low rates of C diff, but numbers are on the increase, reflecting the national trend. We have also had confirmation that we have a particularly virulent strain of C diff in the hospital and the wider community, known as the 027 strain. This strain of C diff is much more virulent than any strain we have experienced previously.


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“As a result, a small number of patients with C diff have experienced severe complications and illnesses.

“Since December 1, 2006 and March 28 there have been 17 patients who have experienced complications from C siff that have contributed to their death. This is recorded on their death certificates. Five patients have undergone major bowel surgery.”

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He said the hospital had taken a number of measures to limit the spread of the bug and was working closely with the Health Protection Agency to ensure best practice.

Clostridium difficile is a hospital-acquired infection which causes diarrhoea, ranging from mild cases to severe illness. It can be fatal.

Elderly patients who have been treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics are at greatest risk of infection.

C. diff can be spread unintentionally by patients and lead to hospital outbreaks.

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