Introduction

This policy sets the Trust standards for infection prevention and control when caring for patients with suspected or confirmed Clostridioides difficile (often abbreviated to C. difficile, Cdiff or CDI).

Clostridioides difficile is a spore forming bacterium found in people’s intestines. It can be found in healthy people, where it causes no symptoms (up to 3% of adults and 66% of babies).

C. difficile causes disease when the normal bacteria in the gut are disadvantaged, usually by someone taking antibiotics. This allows C. difficile to grow to unusually high levels. It also allows the toxin that some strains of C. difficile produce to reach levels where it attacks the intestines and causes mild to severe diarrhoea. In some people C. difficile can lead to severe inflammation of the bowel (pseudomembranous colitis), which may potentially be life threatening.

People acquire C. difficile through ingestion of the bacterium / spores (through contact with a contaminated environment or person). Risk factors for developing C. difficile infection include antibiotic use, age, immunosuppression and use of proton pump inhibitors.

People who develop C. diffiicile infection, are infectious to others whilst having diarrhoea (and for a few days following cessation of diarrhoea). In the absence of diarrhoea someone with C. difficile is not regarded as being infectious.

In hospitalised patients cross-infection from one patient to another may occur and therefore, rigorous use of infection prevention and control precautions is essential. This policy details the precautions to be applied to help minimise the risk of cross-infection for suspected or confirmed C. difficile infection, in order to protect vulnerable patients.

 

Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Shila Patel, Nurse Consultant Infection Prevention and Control
Ratified by: Control of Infection Committee
Date Ratified: April 2023
Date Issued: May 2023
Review Date: April 2026
Target Audience: All clinical staff
Contact name: Shila Patel, Nurse Consultant Infection Prevention and Control

 

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