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Adjunct IC measures to use in C. diff outbreak
Consider if asymptomatic carriers suspected
Infection control professionals at the Cleveland VA Medical Center took several additional prevention measures because they suspected asymptomatic Clostridium difficile carriers were fueling an outbreak in their long-term care facility.1 The authors' interventions — which, we remind, were taken during an outbreak — are summarized as follows:
Asked to respond by Hospital Infection Control, Curtis Donskey, MD co-author of the study and director of infection control at the Cleveland VA Medical Center, e-mailed the following response:
"We didn't look at the personal hygiene of our patients, but we agree with Dr. Muto's point and are currently looking into how well standard hospital bathing practices remove C. difficile from skin. Several researchers have recently reported that daily bathing with chlorhexidine may be a useful infection control strategy for hospital pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin- resistant enterococcus. Chlorhexidine kills many pathogens but not C. difficile spores, so more work is needed to determine the best approach to remove C. difficile. Because we found C. difficile spores on skin and in the environment, we think that the optimal infection control approach will have to address both skin and environmental contamination."