British study shows C. diff can travel through the air

By: May 27th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Typically Clostridium difficile (C. diff) has been a multidrug resistant organism associated with high surface contamination. Although some have speculated that C. diff spores could spread through the air, few have been able to prove that risk is present.

A study released yesterday in Clinical Infectious Diseases, by a group of researchers from the United Kingdom, suggests that, “aerosolization of C. difficile occurs commonly but sporadically in patients with symptomatic [C. diff infections],” which would also explain why C. diff has become increasingly more common in medical facilities, even surpassing MRSA in some regions.

The intensive portion of the study tested the air and surface around 10 patients with symptoms of a C. diff infection for 10 hours over the course of two days. Sixty percent of patients had both air and surface environments that were positive for C. diff and researchers confirmed a link between airborne dispersal, environmental contamination, and C. diff infections.

Given the evidence, researchers recommend the need for single‐room isolation as soon as possible to prevent the spread of C. diff.

You can find additional guidance for C. diff prevention in the updated guidelines from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).


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