Clostridiodes difficile – formerly Clostridium difficile (C.diff)


Clostridium difficile is a germ that causes diarrhea with the most important risk factor being exposure to antimicrobials. C.diff infections can be prevented by using infection control recommendations and more care use of antibiotics as studies have shown that between 30-50% of antibiotics prescribed in hospitals are either unnecessary or incorrect. The CDC estimated the occurrence of almost half a million infections caused by C.diff in 2011 with approximately 83,000 of those patients experiencing at least one recurrence and approximately 29,000 died within 30 days of their initial diagnosis. The costs associated with C.diff can quickly accelerate. Treating C.diff in the hospital averages between $3,427-$9960 (in 2012 dollars), and treating recurrent C.diff is estimated at $11,631. This results in a total annual cost in the United States of more than $1.2 billion. We can prevent C.diff infections by using infection control recommendations such as hand washing, appropriate cleaning and strict use of contact precautions along with more careful use of antibiotics.

Infection Prevention Spotlight - Maury Regional Medical Center

February 13, 2023

Maury Regional Medical Center has consistently achieved low Clostridioides difficile infection rates since 2016. Lynnelle Murrell, Director of Infection Prevention at MRMC, shared the following tips on how to reduce and sustain low C. difficile rates, even during the pandemic.

  • Back to the Basics – Perform a gap analysis to revisit the basics and other initiatives to determine whether there is more work to be done.
  • Antibiotic Stewardship – Promote the appropriate use of antimicrobials and use a multi-disciplinary approach.
  • Diagnostic Testing Stewardship – Provide education to providers and nursing staff to collect specimens only when appropriate; communicate with the microbiology lab and audit specimen rejection logs to ensure CDIF testing is not performed on formed stool; and use the two-step testing method for reliable results.
  • Cleaning and Disinfecting the Environment – Attention to the environment continues to be essential in breaking the chain of infection transmission.
  • Analysis of HAI Events – Use of multidisciplinary team, including frontline staff, to identify future prevention opportunities.

Do you have opportunities at your facility to prevent future C. difficile infections? Click the links below for more information or contact Rachel Goodman to review best practices for your facility.


THA Gap Analysis Tool

Shea Online Education Center

  • Prevention CHKC is designed to train frontline healthcare personnel in best practices to prevent and control HAIs and pathogens that can spread in the healthcare setting.

Contact the Clostridiodes difficile – formerly Clostridium difficile (C.diff) Lead

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Clostridiodes difficile – formerly Clostridium difficile (C.diff)