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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 March 2007, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK
Bug hospital in 400,000 clean up
Clostridium difficile
The Clostridium difficile bacterium mainly affects older people
A hospital which experienced 17 deaths linked to the virulent Clostridium difficile bacterium is spending an extra 400,000 on cleaning and hygiene.

Managers at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston, which takes patients from Norfolk and north Suffolk, are also making contact with bereaved families.

Nick Coveney, director of nursing and patient care, said the families were getting the help they needed.

Sixteen other patients have also been infected with C difficile.

Mr Coveney said: "Obviously we've been meeting families on a patient by patient basis because that is the way to do it, but any information will remain confidential to them.

'Measures in place'

"If any family wants to contact us or have any concerns we will of course hope to facilitate anything they wish to do."

Meanwhile a helpline has been set up to answer patient concerns on 01493 453453.

Consultant microbiologist Ngozi Elumogo said staff had been working hard to combat the bug.

"We've put many measures in place and these are recommended nationally as they are based on what other hospitals have done.

"We have also done a lot of work with antibiotics because these are a huge risk factor.

"And we've removed any antibiotics linked to this particular strain.

"Resources are being put into cleaning and environmental contamination as well as use of aprons and gloves.

"We are recommending hand washing with soap and water because a lot of the alcohol gels do not have any impact on this particular strain."

The deaths occurred from December 2006 to March this year and five other patients have undergone major bowel surgery as a result of the infection.

There are 11 people still being treated for the condition.

The hospital is fighting a rare form of the bacterium

Q&A: Clostridium difficile
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