Image: Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control
Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov
Regards to all our listeners!
I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Here is what's new this week in MedlinePlus.
The magnitude and scope of clostridium difficile (or c. diff) infection continues to create a health care burden in the U.S., finds a comprehensive study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
MedlinePlus.gov's c. diff health topic page explains c. diff is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions such as colitis.
The study, which was based on data derived from ten deliberately diverse U.S. geographic areas in 2011, finds c. diff was responsible for almost 500,000 infections and was associated with about 29,000 deaths during that year.
The incidence of c. diff reported in the study is a statistical projection based on the findings within the 10 surveillance sites.
The study found an estimated 256,000 c. diff cases among women in 2011 compared to 197,000 cases among men. The study found 390,000 c. diff cases among white patients compared to 63,000 cases among non-white patients.
The study's 17 authors, who are affiliated with several universities, medical centers, state public health departments, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found about 260,000 c. diff cases were among adults after age 65. The study found about 17,000 c. diff cases occurred between ages 1-17, about 53,000 cases occurred among adults 18-44, and about 123,000 cases occurred among adults ages 45-64.
Of the c. diff cases within the 10 surveillance sites, about 66 percent were health care-associated and the onset of about 24 percent of cases occurred while patients were hospitalized.
A website from the CDC, available in the 'specific conditions' section of MedlinePlus.gov's clostridium difficile infections health topic page, notes the rates of c. diff are increasing nationwide.
The CDC website reports the trend is worrisome because an epidemic strain of c. diff identified in 2004 appears to be more virulent than past strains—and is more resistant to the antibiotics that are recommended for patients with the infection.
Overall, the CDC website suggests hospitals, clinics, and other health care settings need to monitor for c. diff and observe recommended infection control measures.
In addition, at a January Poynter Institute briefing for reporters mostly from the Association of Health Care Journalists, CDC officials placed c. diff prominently on a list of looming public health challenges in the U.S.
Meanwhile, some helpful background information about c. diff infections (from the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) is provided in MedlinePlus.gov's c. diff health topic page.
Some recent information about antibiotics associated diarrhea—caused by c. diff—(from Up-to-Date) is available in the 'related issues' section of MedlinePlus.gov's c. diff health topic page.
Sections within MedlinePlus.gov's c. diff health topic page provide information about the infection's implications for seniors, and children.
MedlinePlus.gov's c. diff health topic page additionally provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the 'journal articles' section. Links to clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available in the 'clinical trials' section. You can sign up to receive updates about c. diff as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.
To find MedlinePlus.gov's c. diff health topic page type 'c. diff infections' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'Clostridium difficile infections (National Library of Medicine).'
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