Wash Your Hands – Part 7
One particularly nasty bug spread by healthcare workers is Clostridium difficile (C diff). This is a spore-forming, Gram-positive anaerobic bacillus that produces two endotoxins – endotoxin A and endotoxin B. It accounts for 125% to 20% of all episodes of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
C diff is shed in the feces and any surface or device (e.g., skin, bedpan, toilet, thermometer, bedside commode, linen, bedrail) that is contaminated with feces can serve as a reservoir. Spores are transferred to patients via the hands of patients who have touched a contaminated surface.
Alcohol-based products are not effective against this spore-forming bacterium; thus the use of soap and water is mandatory to help remove the spores from contaminated hands. Zealous handwashing is especially indicated in a C. diff outbreak situation.
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