CBC News – Montreal – Montreal hospital battles superbug

Many overseas hospitals have done much to battle infections such as MRSA, and C-dificile. We can all learn from what they have done.

CBC News – Montreal – Montreal hospital battles superbug.

Montreal hospital battles superbug

Last Updated: Monday, March 1, 2010 | 2:03 PM ET Comments87Recommend57

At least 300 people have contracted C. difficile at the  Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital. At least 300 people have contracted C. difficile at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital. (CBC)Montreal’s Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital is dealing with a Clostridium difficile outbreak that infected hundreds in the past year.

According to internal documents, several patients died after more than 300 contracted C. difficile, which causes intense diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain and is regarded as the most dangerous bacterial superbug confronting North American hospitals in the past decade.

CBC’s French-language service obtained the internal documents under access to information laws.

The hospital wouldn’t confirm how many deaths were directly linked to C. difficile, but admitted it has been battling the bacteria for several months. A combination of improper sterilization, overcrowded emergency rooms and elderly patients contributed to the outbreak, the hospital said.

The situation isn’t a crisis but “it’s the hospital’s No. 1 priority — it’s a real problem,” said Francis Methot, hospital director. “For me, a crisis is something we don’t see coming. In this case, it’s the opposite. This is something we were working on.”

The documents suggest C. difficile infection rates were higher in 2009 than in 2006 and 2007, when provincial health officials last inspected the hospital.

The infection rate has dropped 50 per cent since the beginning of February.

Last fall, Quebec hospitals reported their lowest overall C. difficile infection rates in five years. Health officials suggested that stricter hand-washing and other measures inspired by the swine flu outbreak might have helped reduce the incidence of C. difficile.

Quebec hospitals are obligated to publicly report the number of cases in their facilities. That policy came into effect following an outbreak at the Mercier Hospital in St-Hyacinthe, where 16 people died after contracting the bacteria in 2006.

In Ontario, at least 460 patients at 22 hospitals have died after developing C. difficile infections.

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