Research seeking to outsmart C. diff achieves sustained 50% decrease in infections across eight hospitals

October 13, 2022

ST. PAUL, Minn. — October 13, 2022 — According to recent research conducted at several member hospitals that are part of Trinity Health and published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, optimized environmental cleaning is the key to effectively reducing C. diff transmission inside hospitals.

The study, “Mitigating hospital-onset Clostridioides difficile: The impact of an optimized environmental hygiene program in eight hospitals”, found that an optimized cleaning process, environmental hygiene monitoring and feedback to staff on cleaning led to a sustained 50% decrease in hospital-onset Clostridioides difficile (HO-CDI) compared to control hospitals.

“Achieving a sustained 50% decrease in HO-CDI across eight hospitals is unprecedented,” said study lead author Philip C. Carling, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. “The dramatic results tell us two things. First, they really highlight the significant role asymptomatic carriers play in the spread of C. diff, as borne out by scientific literature over the past few years. Secondly, the results underscore the dramatic impact environmental hygiene and the work of environmental services (EVS) professionals can have on reducing transmission.”

C. diff bacteria spores—a leading cause of healthcare-associated infections—are very difficult to kill, presenting a significant challenge for hospitals and health systems. Infections are estimated at half a million per year, causing 29 000 deaths and costing more than $5.4 billion in excess health care costs.

Amid staff and supply shortages, it’s become even more critical to optimize patient and staff safety and cleaning efficiency. That’s why Trinity Health and the study authors took such a rigorous, scientific approach to outsmart the dangerous and costly spore.

“This was the first-ever controlled study of a single type of intervention—in this case, optimized environmental hygiene—to decrease endemic transmission of C. diff. The aim of the study was to quantify the impact of combined daily, hospital-wide sporicidal use with actionable data and robust training,” said study author Russell Olmsted, Director of Infection Prevention Management at Trinity Health. “The results achieved could and should change the way infection preventionists approach mitigation of C. diff in hospitals because it takes into account our new understanding of the epidemiology of transmission.”

Read the full study here which provides detail on the methods employed. Ecolab did not play any role in the design, analysis, or interpretation of data for the study.

About Ecolab

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Media contact

Lauren Klemstein
Inprela Communications

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