LETHBRIDGE: Confirmed cases of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), have prompted
Alberta Health Services to close Unit 4-C at Chinook Regional Hospital to new
patients and limit visitors to the unit.
According to South Zone Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vivien Suttorp, "Our
first priority is to care for the patients in this unit and prevent the spread
of infection to other patients" Suttorp goes on to say, "Only new patients
showing symptoms of CDI will be admitted onto Unit 4C. Visitors will be limited
to immediate family or caregivers during set visiting hours (11 a.m. to 8
All visitors are advised to wash their hands before and after leaving the
unit and staff access to the unit will be limited to only essential medical and
support staff. AHS is undertaking extra cleaning of rooms and the equipment used in
patients' rooms and the unit, and implementing strict patient to health care
Most often, CDI arises sporadically in individual patients, usually related
to the use of antibiotics that disturb the normal balance of bacteria. Hospital
outbreaks are not uncommon and arise occasionally.
CDI is the most frequent cause of health-care associated infectious diarrhea.
Symptoms range from mild diarrhea to high fever, abdominal pain and
dehydration. Clostridium difficile bacteria is normally found in the bowel, and
occurs when the bacteria grow to significant numbers and produce toxins, causing
inflammation of the bowel and diarrhea.
Dr. Suttorp underscores, "Good hand-washing is crucial to limit
the spread of this infection. Using soap and running water for at least 20
seconds is the most effective way."
The risk to public is
low, because healthy people are not normally susceptible to acquiring CDI from