A new government report has showed that over 450,000 Americans get infected each year with potentially deadly bacteria, called Clostridium difficile, which may be lurking in the office of your doctors.
According to the experts at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost all cases of infection from this deadly bug are triggered by the overuse of antibiotics.
Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile, is typically found in hospitals. But the researchers of the current study said that it may occur at the doctors’ clinic as they found that a substantial number of people participating in the study contracted the bacterial infection by not visiting hospitals, but going to their doctor’s clinic.
The common disease caused by the bacteria is diarrhea, which is potentially deadly in nature. According to the CDC, the cases of infections from Clostridium difficile are on the rise as its new report has shown approximately half a million people in the United States getting infected across various locations in one year, with 15,000 deaths directly linked to the bacteria.
The presence of C. diff was found in six out of seven outpatient clinics, including on examining tables and patients’ chairs, in Ohio that were examined during a study conducted in 2013.
Concerned over the findings, the CDC researchers are going to conduct a new study at the national level to find out the exact scenario of C. diff in doctors’ offices.
Dr. Cliff McDonald, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC, said, “This is really an important issue. We need to understand better how people are getting Clostridium difficile.”
For the study, the CDC researchers’ team collected an actual idea of all reported cases of C. diff in 2011. It was found that 15,461 cases were reported during the year across 10 regions in the United States. Nearly two-thirds were linked to some sort of healthcare, and just 24 percent of people got sick while staying in the hospital.
Even though the revelations by the study are startling, the good news is that C. difficile cases are declining. According to CDC, there has been a 10 percent decline in the cases of C. difficile infections linked to the hospitals from 2011 to 2013.
Meanwhile, the Health and Human Services Department has announced that it will begin penalizing hospitals that are not making efforts to lower the onset of such cases in 2017.
The CDC study was published on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.