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July 25, 2022

Hospitalized people can bring infections home with them.

Preventing C. diff in and out of the hospital

Clostridioides difficile (C. diff), a type of bacterium that can cause diarrhoea and colitis, is often found in hospitalised people. Even if these people didn't have any symptoms and weren't diagnosed with C. diff while they were in the hospital, new research shows that they could still bring the bacteria home and spread it to their families.

Researchers looked at data from medical insurance plans for households with at least two people on the same plan to find people who had hospital stays but were not diagnosed with C. diff. They found that once these people went home, other people in the same household were 73 per cent more likely to need treatment for a C. diff infection within 60 days than other people in the same insurance plan who did not have a family member who had recently been in the hospital. The longer a person stays in the hospital, the more likely they are to get an infection. Households, where someone spent a month or more in the hospital, had almost double the risk for C. diff than those where someone was in the hospital for one to three days.



The results show how important it is to keep good hygiene after a family member comes home from the hospital. For example, you should wash your hands often with lots of soap and warm water, especially after going to the bathroom and before eating. The findings have been published in the Emerging Infectious Diseases issue for May 2022.

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