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Deaths from C. difficile on the up

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Deaths caused by the healthcare-associated infection Clostridium difficile have risen by 72% in a year, according to latest figures.

The number of death certificates in England and Wales that mentioned C. difficile infection rose from 3,757 in 2005 to 6,480 in 2006, an increase of 72%.

However, some of the increase in deaths involving C. difficile may be due to more complete reporting on death certificates, according to the Office for National Statistics, which published the data today in its quarterly report on health statistics.

Meanwhile, the number of death certificates that mentioned MRSA stabilised at 1,652 in 2006. This follows a sustained increase in MRSA-related deaths from 51 in 1993 to 1,649 in 2005.

Ministers also met today to discuss cleanliness in the health service. Hosting a summit of private and public sector cleaning representatives in London, health minister Ann Keen and NHS chief executive David Nicholson held discussions on new approaches to improve cleaning of wards and equipment.

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