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C.difficile is just one of the many types of bacteria that can be found in the environment and the intestines.  For most people, it does not pose a health risk.  However, C.difficile associated disease (CDAD) can sometimes occur when antibiotics are prescribed.  Antibiotics work by killing off bacteria, the bad bacteria-but also the good bacteria.  This can allow the C.difficile bacteria to multiply, which may cause diarrhea and can damage the bowel.

CDAD is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in health care facilities.  The effects of CDAD are usually mild by can sometimes be more severe.  In severe cases, surgery may be needed, and in extreme cases CDAD may cause death.

For further information, view the C. difficile Patient Information Sheet.

Rates of C. difficile

It is important to note the C.difficile rates, as in the case for all infections, can fluctuate over the course of a year for a number of reasons.  For example in winter, we admit more patients with respiratory infections.  An increase of respiratory infections often results in increased use of antibiotics, a leading factor in new cases of C. difficile.

When The Ottawa Hospital experience cases of C. difficile, they are usually contained in a limited geographic area or unit of the hospital.  Also, compared to the overall number of patients admitted each year, these cases are relatively low in number. The Ottawa Hospital follows a number of procedures to control and manage new cases of C. difficile.  As described in the provincial best practice standards for managing C.difficile we:

  • Isolate individuals identified or suspected to have C. difficile, wearing gloves to enter their rooms
  • Ensure that all patients suspected of having C. difficile are tested
  • Remind all staff about the importance of  hand hygiene
  • Ensure effective cleaning of all patient rooms
  • Ensure that visitors are instructed in hand washing and other control measures
  • Provide education where needed so that all members of our team are up-to-date with current management strategies
  • Ensure that all patients with C. difficile infection are appropriately treated

The view the monthly rates of hospital acquired C. difficile please click on the link below:

C-difficile Rates at The Ottawa Hospital:

C-difficile Rates for All Ontario Hospitals
Civic Campus General Campus The Rehabilitation Centre
Monthly Nosoc. Cases *Pt Days Incidence per 1000  pt days Nosoc. Cases *Pt Days Incidence per 1000  pt days Nosoc. Cases *Pt Days Incidence per 1000  pt days
Fiscal Year 2017-2018
April 2017 < 5 13,144 0.08 10 15,583 0.64 0 1,868 0.00
May 2017 < 5 12,923 0.23 8 15,881 0.50 0 1,977 0.00
June 2017 6 12,602 0.48 8 14,716 0.54 < 5 1,871 0.53
July 2017 6 12,144 0.49 9 15,465 0.58 0 1,945 0.00
August 2017 < 5 12,939 0.31 10 15,699 0.64 0 1,916 0.00
September 2017 < 5 13,092 0.15 14 15,909 0.88 0 2,045 0.00
October 2017 0 13,771 0.00 6 16,293 0.37 0 1,996 0.00
November 2017
December 2017
January 2018
February 2018
March 2018
Fiscal Year 2016-2017
April 2016 < 5 12,392 0.16 8 15,672 0.51 0 1,523 0.00
May 2016 < 5 12,227 0.16 16 15,819 1.01 0 1,541 0.00
June 2016 < 5 12,191 0.16 10 15,643 0.64 0 1,495 0.00
July 2016 < 5 12,546 0.32 11 15,970 0.69 0 1,472 0.00
August 2016 < 5 13,254 0.15 10 15,913 0.63 0 1,503 0.00
September 2016 < 5 12,676 0.32 5 15,426 0.32 0 1,480 0.00
October 2016 6 12,880 0.47 13 16,278 0.80 0 1,664 0.00
November 2016 < 5 12,563 0.32 13 15,876 0.82 0 1,590 0.00
December 2016 < 5 12,695 0.32 8 15,808 0.51 0 1,510 0.00
January 2017 < 5 13,429 0.22 5 16,382 0.31 < 5 1,458 2.06
February 2017 5 12,812 0.39 12 15,244 0.79 0 1,596 0.00
March 2017 5 13,795 0.36 8 16,304 0.49 < 5 2,022 0.49
Fiscal Year 2015-2016
April 2015 10 12,386 0.81 < 5 15,161 0.07 0 1,606 0.00
May  2015 < 5 12,403 0.32 7 15,646 0.45 0 1,593 0.00
June 2015 5 11,718 0.43 10 14,661 0.68 0 1,544 0.00
July 2015 6 12,450 0.48 9 15,188 0.59 < 5 1,651 1.21
August 2015 < 5 11,787 0.25 7 15,471 0.45 0 1,497 0.00
September 2015 5 12,766 0.39 9 15,734 0.57 0 1,328 0.00
October 2015 < 5 12,921 0.31 8 15,901 0.50 0 1,476 0.00
November 2015 < 5 12,103 0.33 7 15,027 0.47 0 1,392 0.00
December 2015 < 5 12,357 0.32 10 14,786 0.68 0 1,446 0.00
January 2016 6 12,736 0.47 < 5 16,000 0.25 0 1,433 0.00
February 2016 < 5 12,330 0.16 < 5 15,582 0.19 < 5 1,460 0.68
March 2016 < 5 12,750 0.08 13 16,117 0.81 0 1,614 0.00