Outbreaks of Gut 'Superbug' More Common in Northeast: Study

News Picture: Outbreaks of Gut 'Superbug' More Common in Northeast: Study

TUESDAY, May 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Infections with the superbug known as Clostridium difficile have been the most prevalent in the Northeast during the past decade, new U.S. research shows.

University of Texas researchers looked at slightly more than 2 million cases of infection with the germ, which causes colon inflammation and life-threatening diarrhea. The bug causes more health care-related infections in U.S. hospitals than any other, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings were published in the May issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

C. difficile costs as much as $4.8 billion in estimated extra health care costs per year, according to CDC estimates.

Roughly half a million infections occurred in 2011, killing 29,000 patients within a month of their diagnosis, according to the agency.

The University of Texas researchers found the Northeast had the highest rate of C. difficile cases, with eight per 1,000 hospital discharges. The Midwest had six cases of C. difficile per 1,000 hospital discharges. Areas in the South and the West had five cases per 1,000, according to the researchers.

As for seasons, the rate was similar in spring, winter, summer and fall. Death rates were highest in the Midwest (7 percent) and in older adults (9 percent).

-- Randy Dotinga

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SOURCE: Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, news release, April 28, 2015