2 New Jersey hospitals unite against C. diff

The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J., and Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, N.J., are uniting in the fight against the drug-resistant healthcare-acquired infection Clostridium difficile.

"C. difficile is public enemy No. 1 and it is clear that defeating it will take a cooperative, multi-institutional and multidisciplinary approach...no one is going to get anywhere without working together," said Neil Gaffin, MD, an infectious disease specialist at The Valley Hospital.

C. diff was responsible for 29,000 deaths in 2011, according to the CDC. While 65.8 percent of C. diff cases have been found to be healthcare-associated, only 24.2 percent happened during hospitalization, with the rest originating in a nursing home or outpatient care at another healthcare facility, according to the two hospitals. This suggests the infection is being transferred through a network of nursing homes and outpatient care facilities. Poor coordination and collaboration can put patients at risk. The CDC has called upon healthcare facilities to come together in the fight against the antibiotic-resistant C. diff.

In accordance with the CDC's recommendations, representatives from both institutions meet regularly to share best practices regarding C. diff prevention and treatment.

"We are employing bleach-based disinfectants, which are the only compounds that will inactivate the spores, and are restricting the use, spectrum and duration of antibiotic therapy to preserve the normal organisms in a patient," said Thomas Birch, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Holy Name Medical Center.

In addition to working closely with one another, both hospitals are also reaching out to area nursing homes in hopes of limiting the spread of the infection throughout the healthcare cycle.

More articles on infection control: 
Zika linked to deadly brain inflammation in new case study 
FDA announces picks for likely 2016-2017 flu strains 
Synthetic molecules show promise for reversing antibiotic resistance in MRSA

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