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Clostridium Difficile Outbreak At Nenagh Hospital

C. difficile colonies grown on an agar plate

All admissions to Nenagh Hospital’s female medical ward here in Co. Tipperary have been suspended following a confirmed outbreak of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile).

It is understood that three cases of C.difficile have been detected and isolated, while infection control procedures have been thoroughly intensified at the Nenagh facility.

C. difficile is a bacterium that causes mild to severe diarrhoea and intestinal conditions like inflammation of the colon. When antibiotics destroy a person’s good bowel bacteria, C. difficile bacteria can grow producing toxins, which can in turn damage the bowel and cause severe diarrhoea.

C. difficile and their spores are found in feces & are the most frequent cause of infectious diarrhoea. People can easily become infected if they touch surfaces which are contaminated with feces. Healthcare workers can spread this bacteria to their patients, especially if their hands become contaminated.

The use of broad-spectrum antibiotic such as clindamycin, increases the chance of developing a C. difficile infection. Since antibiotics alters the normal levels of good bacteria found in the intestines and colon, there are therefore fewer good bacteria remaining in the intestines and colon.  C. difficile bacteria are then given the chance to increase and thus produce toxins.

Symptoms of the infection include flu-like symptoms, fever, watery diarrhoea, a loss of appetite, nausea, and severe abdominal pain. In rare cases this can progress to toxic mega-colon, which can be life-threatening. Visitors are therefore advised not to make unnecessary trips to the Nenagh facility.

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