Nearly 40,000 hospital bug cases missed each year

May 16, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—More than 39,000 cases of the hospital bug Clostridium difficile are missed in Europe each year because of a lack of clinical suspicion or inadequate lab testing, a Europe-wide study led by University of Leeds experts has found.

Findings from an international study into Clostridium difficile incidence (CDI) were presented at the 24th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Barcelona this week.

Data from 482 European hospitals reveals that in a single day, an average of 109 cases of CDI are missed due to a lack of clinical suspicion or inadequate laboratory testing, potentially leading to more than 39,000 missed cases in Europe each year.

"Countries with increased awareness of CDI have been able to improve early diagnosis and reduce outbreaks associated with the most virulent strains of CDI," said Professor Mark Wilcox, Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of Leeds.

"This study highlights that it is essential that we improve the implementation of testing in hospitals, in order to tackle the issue of the increasing incidence of the bug across Europe."

The European multi-centre, prospective bi-annual prevalence study of Clostridium difficile infection in hospitalised patients with diarrhoea (EUCLID) involved 482 hospitals from 20 European countries.

These full results compare data captured on two separate days, one in winter 2012/13 and one in summer 2013. On each of the assigned days, participating hospitals submitted all samples of unformed faeces to the 20 EUCLID national coordinating laboratories (NCL) across Europe. In total, 7,181 faecal samples were submitted by participating hospitals.

Results of this study highlighted marked recent shifts in CDI testing policy and methodology across Europe, resulting in improved testing policies and selection of laboratory methods. The data shows that false-positive rates decreased between the two study days in those countries where testing procedures and methods had improved.

Despite this, more than 50% of hospitals are still not using the most accurate testing procedure for CDI and more than one in five (21.8%) samples found to be positive for CDI at the NCL had not been tested at local level. In addition, the findings reveal that more than half (52.1%) of hospitals in Europe only test for CDI at a doctor's request.

"Guidelines exist recommending hospitals for CDI in all unformed stools of which the cause is undetermined. However we are still seeing an issue with both a lack of clinical suspicion and lack of testing for CDI", said Professor Wilcox. "CDI is a condition which causes considerable suffering for patients and is a huge economic burden to hospitals across Europe. These results reveal that there is still more to be done in order to optimise CDI management and prevention."

Explore further: Study finds serious C. Difficile rates on rise in hospitals

Related Stories

Study finds serious C. Difficile rates on rise in hospitals

March 17, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—The incidence of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), which causes severe diarrhoea, acute toxic colitis and even death, is on the rise in Australian hospitals, according to a study led by researchers ...

Anti-depressant link to Clostridium difficile infection

May 6, 2013

Certain types of anti-depressants have been linked to an increase in the risk of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) finds a study in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine. Awareness of this link should improve ...

Recommended for you

Zika virus infection alters human and viral RNA

October 20, 2016

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that Zika virus infection leads to modifications of both viral and human genetic material. These modifications—chemical tags known as ...

Food-poisoning bacteria may be behind Crohn's disease

October 19, 2016

People who retain a particular bacterium in their gut after a bout of food poisoning may be at an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease later in life, according to a new study led by researchers at McMaster University.

Neurodevelopmental model of Zika may provide rapid answers

October 19, 2016

A newly published study from researchers working in collaboration with the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia demonstrates fetal death and brain damage in early chick embryos similar to microcephaly—a ...

Scientists uncover new facets of Zika-related birth defects

October 17, 2016

In a study that could one day help eliminate the tragic birth defects caused by Zika virus, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have elucidated how the virus attacks the brains of newborns, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.