Clostridium difficile, also known as C. difficile or C. diff, is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and can be fatal. People who have other illnesses or conditions requiring prolonged use of antibiotics, and the elderly, are at greater risk of acquiring this disease.
C. diff is found in feces. People can become infected if they touch items or surfaces that are contaminated with the bacteria and then touch their mouth, eyes or nose. Health care workers can spread the bacteria to patients or contaminate surfaces through hand contact.
What are we doing to prevent C. diff infections?
To prevent C. diff infections, our doctors, nurses and other health care providers:
Clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after caring for every patient
Carefully clean hospital rooms and medical equipment that have been used for patients with Clostridium difficile
Give patients antibiotics only when necessary
Use these precautions to prevent C. diff from spreading to other patients:
Patients with C. diff are given their own room or share a room with someone who also has C. diff.
Health care providers put on gloves and wear a gown while taking care of patients with C. diff.
How are we doing?
Because of our efforts, we have seen a significant lowering of C. difficile infection rates at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.