Contamination from hospital transfers could hike inpatient C. diff risk by 13%, study finds

A study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology shows that some Clostridium difficile infection contamination can be attributed to patients who transfer hospitals.

Researchers analyzed data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project California State Inpatient Database (2005-2011). They identified 26.8 million patient admissions and 532,925 patient transfers.

They constructed a weighted, directed patient-sharing network among the hospitals and used a network autocorrelation model to examine the effect of the patient-sharing network on the average number of C. diff cases each month per hospital.

Researchers found that 13 percent of C. diff cases were a result of diffusion through the patient-sharing network.

They also found that an increase in the number of patients transferred into and/or an increased C. diff rate at the hospitals from which those patients were transferred led to an increase in the number of C. diff cases at the hospital receiving the patients.

"This work adds to the growing body of evidence that intervention strategies designed to minimize HAIs should be done at the regional rather than local level," study authors concluded.

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