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New DH guidance on the management of Clostridium difficile infection in hospitals

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New guidance on the management of Clostridium difficile infection in hospitals has been issued by the Department of Health (DH).

The guidance – published today – sets out 10 key recommendations to help all NHS staff involved in the prevention and control of Clostridium difficile to continue to reduce the rates of infection.

Clostridium difficile infection:How to deal with the problem updates and replaces all previous guidance on the infection and recommends that it be treated as a diagnosis in its own right.

It also provides recommendations on good antimicrobial practice, the isolation and cohorting of patients, and how to prevent infection through environmental cleaning and disinfection.

The DH guidance has been published on the same day that new quarterly figures from the Health Protection Agency show rates of Clostridium difficile in England are continuing to fall.

Between July and September 2008, there was a 19% drop in the number of cases in the over 65s compared with the previous quarter – from 8,696 to 7,061 cases.

This also represents a fall of 35% from the same quarter in 2007 when 10,884 cases were recorded in patients aged 65 and over between July and September.

The DH said the NHS is ‘on track’ to achieve the national target of reducing the rate of Clostridium difficile infections by 30% by 2010/11.

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