Recently I read a USA Today article on Clostridium Difficile (C.Diff) infections that I’d like to share. Sometimes when we read about issues in a national publication we can be lulled into a sense of security because the people affected are far from us. We don’t know them.
C. Diff. is a real threat to us in Grand Island. At Saint Francis Medical Center (SFMC) medical center we track these infections monthly. Historically this infection was caused by use of antibiotics in the hospital. Hence it was labeled as a “Hospital Acquired Condition,” is reported to regulatory agencies monthly, and we have responded by vigorous antibiotic stewardship in the hospital.
For some years our rate of C. Diff. infections at SFMC was quite low. Like most places in the United States, In the past 12 months we have seen a steady increase in the number of C. Diff. infections at SFMC. The difference from past infections is that these C. Diff. cases are coming from the community, not from within the hospital. This is concerning.
Our response needs to be a more thoughtful use of antibiotics in the community, reserved for true bacterial infections, using the right antibiotic for the right condition, and avoiding broad-spectrum antibiotics when unnecessary. Everyone has a part to play in antibiotic stewardship, including patients, families, and providers.
For the sake of us all, let’s work together to learn about antibiotic stewardship.