The only hospital in the Tri-Cities has declared an outbreak of Clostridioides difficile, a bacteria that causes severe diarrhea and inflammation of the colon.
First isolated a week ago on Dec. 31, Port Moody’s Eagle Ridge Hospital remains under outbreak protocols, according to a Fraser Health list of current outbreaks.
The Tri-City News has reached out to Fraser Health but has yet to receive further details of the outbreak.
Also known as C. diff or C. difficile, the bacterial infection is one of the most common causes of infectious diarrhea in hospitals and health care settings, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say one in six patients who get infected by the germ will get it again within two to eight weeks.
The bacteria can also prove especially deadly in seniors, according to the CDC, with one in 11 people over 65 diagnosed with a healthcare-associated C. diff infection dying within one month.
WHO IS MOST AT RISK?
According to the BCCDC, those with the greatest risk of infection include people:
- taking antibiotics
- undergoing cancer chemotherapy
- who have other illnesses
- the elderly
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
A C. diff infection does not always cause symptoms, though when present, they may include:
- Watery diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain and tenderness
HOW CAN I PREVENT ITS SPREAD?
C. diff bacteria and their spores are found in feces, which can live outside of a human body for weeks to months, according to the BCCDC
It often spreads when someone puts their hand in their mouth after touching contaminated items, such as bed sheets, bed rails, bathroom fixtures and medical equipment. It can also be passed through food or drinks, warns the BCCDC.
Therefore, the best way to stem its spread is to diligently wash your hands with soap and water.