Clostridium difficile (C-diff) lives in the gut of approximately 3% of the population. It causes no problems as it is kept in check by the other bacteria which live in the gut and is present in small numbers.
In the hospital setting C-diff can cause problems when some patients are given antibiotics. These antibiotics can disrupt the bacteria living in the gut and allow C-diff to become the main bacteria. It releases a toxin which causes diarrhea—this is what we call a C-diff infection.
If a patient is diagnosed with C-diff they will be nursed in a single room. Although C-diff can be caused by antibiotics it can also be treated using antibiotics. Other important factors in the treatment of C-diff include good environmental cleaning and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the staff caring for you. If a patient is diagnosed with a C.diff infection, all members of staff and visitors should wash their hands with soap and water before and after visiting.
All of our patients with C-diff are reviewed by the Infection, Prevention and Control Team initially after they are diagnosed and then followed up while they are in hospital until recovered. This allows the swift treatment of infectious patients and any improvements in the use of antibiotics or others factors associated with C-diff to be identified and implemented.
We report all C-diff infections to Public Health England.