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C. diff deaths increase

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The number of reported deaths involving Clostridium difficile (C.difficile) has risen by 28% in the last year, according to new data published by the Office for National Statistics.

This information comes from death certificates in England and Wales which mention C.difficile as a factor contributing to death. This is an increase from 6,480 in 2006 to 8,324 in 2007.

The new figure is more than double the number of reported deaths in 2005 when there were 3,757 mentions on death certificates. Although experts say that some of this increase may be due to more complete reporting on death certificates, which became a Government requirement in 2005.

Deaths from the superbug MRSA however fell slightly over the same period.

Professor Brian Duerden, the government's inspector of microbiology and infection control, said:'We have come a long way in tackling infections but one avoidable infection is one too many and we must go further.

'We have set a target for the NHS to deliver a 30% reduction in C. difficile in the next three years and are investing £230 million per year by 2010/11 in improving infection prevention and control.'

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