Clostridium difficile (CDI) is a bacterium that may develop due to the prolonged use of antibiotics during healthcare treatment. CDI infections cause diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions such as colitis. According to the CDC, more than 28,000 people each year in the United States die of CDI.
The breakdown is:
- Hospital-acquired cases: 165,000 patients, $1.3 billion in excess costs and 9,000 deaths
- Hospital-acquired, post-discharge (up to 4 weeks): 50,000 patients, $0.3 billion in excess costs and 3,000 deaths
CDI is especially difficult to stop because in addition to being a bacterium, it can exist in a dormant spore form. CDI can survive for weeks or months on hard surfaces and can be transferred to the patient; many times by the hands of healthcare workers.
Nebraska hospitals, in partnership with CIMRO of Nebraska, are working to reduce CDI rates in Nebraska facilities through promotion of hand hygiene and antibiotic stewardship programs.