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Last Updated: Friday, 30 March 2007, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Bug linked to 17 hospital deaths
Clostridium difficile
The Clostridium difficile bacterium mainly affects older people
Seventeen deaths at a hospital in Norfolk have been linked with an outbreak of a virulent strain of the bug Clostridium difficile.

James Paget Hospital in Gorleston, near Great Yarmouth, said the deaths occurred from December 2006 to March this year.

Five other patients have undergone major bowel surgery as a result of the infection.

Hospital officials said they were confident the outbreak was contained.

The patients that died had complications from C Difficile that contributed towards their death, and this is being recorded on their death certificates.

Cleaning upgraded

In a statement the hospital said it normally had a low record of C Difficile but was now asking the public to help in the fight against this condition.

The statement said: "The hospital immediately brought in isolation facilities using dedicated wards and side rooms.

"We are also reversing antibiotic prescribing policies which means changing the way that drugs are handed out to patients.

"Cleaning procedures have been upgraded and new deep-cleaning techniques introduced."

The James Paget Hospital serves people living in Norfolk and north Suffolk.

The 027 strain of the bacterium caused several deaths at Stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire, while more than 80 hospitals in England and Wales fought outbreaks last year.

The hospital is fighting a rare form of the bacterium

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