The potentially deadly bacterium Clostridium difficile was responsible for three deaths at one NHS hospital in East Sussex since January, it has been announced.
A spokesman for East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust said the bacteria was also found to be a contributory factor in the deaths of another 10 patients at Eastbourne District General Hospital since Christmas.
Making the deaths public, a spokesman said the ‘vast majority’ of the patients who died were elderly and frail.
Health bosses at the trust, which runs the Eastbourne Hospital and the Conquest Hospital in neighbouring St Leonards, said there had been a total of 62 cases of C difficile since January 1, including patients who were admitted with the infection from the community.
There are still currently 17 patients at the Eastbourne hospital with symptoms of C difficile-associated diarrhoea.
As part of a C difficile management strategy, medical professionals at the trust are looking into all case histories of all patients who developed the bug and died since January, while ‘stringent measures’ were also being maintained in order to contain the spread of the infection.