Clostridium difficile infecting one in 100 patients

With all the attention on antibiotic-resistant staph, or MRSA, you may have overlooked Clostridium difficile, the nasty bacterium behind a growing number of hospital-acquired infection, the Wall Street Journal reports. Turns out C. diff is infecting more than 1 in 100 inpatients, a nationwide survey just found.


The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) asked its members to take a one-day snapshot of C. diff in U.S. hospitals; responses came back from more than 600 facilities in 47 states. 13 out of every 1,000 inpatients in the survey were either infected or colonized with C. difficile (94.4% infected). This rate is 6.5-20 times higher than previous incidence estimates.

Extrapolating the impact to all inpatients on any one day:

•· 7,178 CDI patients as inpatients in U.S. hospitals on any one day

Cost: $17.6 million-$51.5 million, average: $32.1 million

  • Extra hospital days: 25,841 - 50,246, average: 40,197 days
  • Mortality: On any one day, the number of patients that would die from CDI would range from 165 to 438 with an average of 301.

(SOURCE: HCPro Patient Safety Monitor,, November 12, 2008)