Page Banner

Clostridioides difficile

Disinfection challenges

C. diff causes up to a half a million illnesses per year, resulting in about 15,000 annual deaths

Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and inflammation of the colon. C. diff can be life threatening and is considered a healthcare associated infection. Other risk factors include recent hospitalization or surgery, being over the age of 65, a weak immune system and previous exposure. The symptoms of a C. diff infection can be devastating and include diarrhea, fever, stomach tenderness, loss of appetite and nausea.31

Devices exposed to C. diff present a disinfection challenge due to the high volume of cfu involved. There are 3.8 million colony forming units (cfu) of C. diff in 1 gram of stool. On average, patients infected with C. diff have 200 grams per stool event, with events occurring 8-10 times a day.36

That’s up to 76 billion cfu of C. diff released into the environment every day per patient.

Alternative treatment technologies, such as UV light, may only achieve a 1 to 3 log reduction in organisms like C. diff, resulting in a significant amount of untreated colony forming units. 

Using the example above this means:

  • 1 log reduction = 7,600,000,000 untreated cfu
  • 2 log reduction = 760,000,000 untreated cfu
  • 3 log reduction = 76,000,000 untreated cfu

Device disinfection is a top 10 issue facing hospitals

The Joint Commission found a general inadequacy in the disinfection of medical devices at healthcare facilities. The #5 most cited standard for 2018 was “02.02.01—The hospital reduces the risk of infections associated with medical equipment, devices, and supplies”

With an average 70.9% noncompliance percentage, the presence of C. diff and other dangerous pathogens are a threat to patient and staff safety.37