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Killer C diff strain spreads to Northern Ireland

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A virulent form of Clostridium difficile has spread to Northern Ireland, the government has revealed.
Nurses from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust are tackling the 027 strain of C. diff, which claimed more than 30 lives during two outbreaks at Stoke Mandeville Hospital during October 2003 and June 2004.

The country's health minister, Michael McGimpsey, has pledged an extra £9m towards infection control measures.

He said: 'I fully acknowledge that the current outbreak of the virulent 027 strain of C difficile in the Northern Trust is of great concern to the public.'

Provisional figures released by the General Registrars Office in Northern Ireland show the number of deaths from clostridium difficile increased from 63 in 2006 to 77 in 2007.

C. diff 027 produces 20 times more toxins than other strains and is resistant to many antibiotics.
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