Scottish C. diff cases rise by up to 13%

A micrograph of C. difficile bacteria. Picture: Contributed
A micrograph of C. difficile bacteria. Picture: Contributed
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CASES of Clostridium difficile increased in both older and younger patients in the last quarter, figures show.

There were 314 cases of the bug reported in patients over 65 between April and June this year - a rate of 34.2 cases per 100,000 hospital bed days and an increase of eight per cent on the previous three months.

There was also a 13 per cent increase in patients under 65, with 111 cases and a rate of 32.1 per 100,000 bed days.

However, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) said despite the increases between quarters, cases were still down year on year by seven per cent in the over-65 group and 15 per cent in the younger patients.

Dr Camilla Wiuff, from HPS, said it was not clear why cases had increased in the last reported quarter, following drops in previous months and years.

“We don’t know if it is just a fluctuation or whether it is the beginning of a new trend. It is too early to say based on just the three-month interval,” she said.

“Looking at the longer period of 12 months the trend is still downwards.”

Dr Wiuff said there had been no outbreaks of C difficile in any hospital which could explain the increase and hopefully the rise was just a blip.

But she said that it demonstrated the importance of continuing and increasing efforts to combat infections such as C difficile through better antibiotic prescribing and infection control.

“It is still an ongoing issue and it is still being taken very serious,” Dr Wiuff added.