Back to Top Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) - The Ottawa Hospital

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 2022-2023
April 2022 <5 16,505 0.12 <5 15,481 0.26 0 1,546 0.00
May 2022 <5 16,574 0.12 <5 16,602 0.12 0 1,549 0.00
June 2022 <5 16,399 0.24 <5 16,666 0.06 0 1,746 0.00
July 2022 <5 16,739 0.24 5 16,810 0.30 0 1,653 0.00
August 2022 5 16,422 0.30 <5 16,116 0.19 0 1,704 0.00
September 2022 <5 16,643 0.12 <5 16,254 0.18 0 1,793 0.00

Last updated on: November 1st, 2022