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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006, 19:49 GMT 20:49 UK
Trust sees rise in superbug rate
Microscope view of C diff
C difficile causes severe diarrhoea
New NHS figures show there has been a rise in the number of cases of a superbug in Leicestershire.

The number of cases of clostridium difficile (C diff) rose from 728 in 2004 to 1,312 in 2005, according to the new statistics.

Two people died at the Glenfield Hospital's Cardiac Intensive Care Unit in April after catching the superbug.

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said it had introduced measures to reduce the number of incidents.

Steam cleaning

The bug, which causes severe diarrhoea, is especially dangerous to the elderly and is commonly contracted in hospital.

C diff was linked to just under 1,000 deaths in the UK in 2003. It is a common hospital-acquired infection.

The trust said a new strain of the bug is spreading across England, from south to north.

Dr David Jenkins, director of infection prevention and control said: "C diff is a very, very nasty diarrhoea bug which is increasingly a problem in the UK, Europe and the States."

"It is naturally occurring in the gut of some otherwise healthy adults. It only becomes a real problem when the natural bacteria in the gut are killed off by antibiotics used to treat other illnesses."

Pauline Tagg, director of nursing, said: "The evidence seems to show that the 'hypervirulent' strain which was in the US and Canada is now present in England.

"But the risks for the vast majority of people are very low indeed. We see over one million patients a year and set against that the number of incidences of C diff are few.

"Our approach is to diagnose rapidly, isolate when possible and then flush it out of the hospital system using specialist steam cleaners."

Two deaths linked to hospital bug
03 May 06 |  Leicestershire
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23 Jun 05 |  Leicestershire
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03 Jun 05 |  Leicestershire

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