Clostridium difficile (or C. diff) is a bacterium that many people, especially those over 65 years of age, carry in their gut. Most of the time it does not cause any problems as the 'friendly' gut bacteria keep it in check. However if a person becomes unwell, has surgery or is given antibiotics that can cause the C. diff to proliferate and release toxins which can cause disease.
C. diff can be prevented by careful antibiotic use, hand washing with soap and water, ensuring the environment and medical equipment is clean and by nursing patients with symptoms in a single room.
C.difficile cases by year from 2007/08 to 2014/15
C.difficile cases so far in 2016/17
In 2016/17, BSUH has a target of no more than 46 C. diff infections.