CDC: C. Diff Infections Falling
C. difficile infection rates climbed annually from 2000 to 2010, and in 2011 caused almost 500,000 illnesses and killed about 29,000 people in the US according to the CDC. However, preliminary analysis of data from the CDC’s Emerging Infections Program showed that the rate of new Clostridium difficile infections in hospitals and nursing homes nationwide declined by 9% to 15% from 2011 to 2014. This suggests that revised antibiotic use guidelines and more aggressive cleaning standards are working.
C. diff infections can cause severe diarrhea and are extremely painful, as Ruth Zimmer, an 87-year-old woman from Lexington, Ky., can attest. “It was a lot of diarrhea,” she says. “It was a gripping stomach pain. It was very nasty and debilitating, but I survived.”
Not everyone is so lucky. In 2011, the CDC estimated C. diff claimed the lives of about 29,000 people and caused nearly 500,000 illnesses in the U.S., over three times the number in 2000.