​​What is Clostridium difficile (C. difficile)?

Clostridium difficile (also called C. difficile or C. diff.) is a bacterium that produces toxins or types of poison that can cause swelling in the intestinal tract. C. difficile infection causes symptoms like diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain. Antibiotic treatment may increase the risk of developing C.difficile infection. Good environment cleaning is very important in preventing the spread of C. difficile.

What is UHN doing to prevent C. difficile infection?

At UHN, all admitted patients that unexpectedly develop diarrhea are tested for C. difficile infection. Patients with C. difficile infection are placed under contact precautions in a single room. This means that all visitors must wear a fresh gown and gloves as well as perform hand hygiene when entering the room. We also use specialized cleaning protocols to reduce C. difficile transmission from patient to patient in the hospital.

C. difficile rates are monitored closely by UHN and reported monthly to the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care.

UHN C.difficile Rates

The C. difficile infection rate is calculated as a rate per 1,000 patient days. The “total patient days” represents the sum of the number of days during which services were provided to all inpatients during the given time period.

The rate is calculated as follows:
(Number of new hospital acquired cases of C. difficile in our facility / Total number of patient days for one month) x 1000.

To view C. difficile rates for all Ontario Hospitals, please visit the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care website.

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