Killer superbug at Ipswich Hospital

A VIRULENT strain of a killer superbug at the centre of a Norfolk hospital crisis HAS been identified at Ipswich Hospital, it was confirmed today.The 027 strain of Clostridium difficile (C-Diff) has hit the headlines after it was revealed 17 patients ages over 65 have died within the past three months at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.

A VIRULENT strain of a killer superbug at the centre of a Norfolk hospital crisis HAS been identified at Ipswich Hospital, it was confirmed today.

The 027 strain of Clostridium difficile (C-Diff) has hit the headlines after it was revealed 17 patients ages over 65 have died within the past three months at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.

Now bosses at Ipswich Hospital say they are doing all they can to safeguard patients against the new strain of the superbug and that preventing the spread of the infection is its highest clinical priority.

Figures show the strain, which spreads in the air, has been identified at 40 hospitals in the UK, and Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman Jan Rowsell said it had been found in patients this year.

More than 100 new cases of C-Diff have been reported at the hospital already this year - in February there were 46 cases and in January there were 61.

Ms Rowsell said only a “small number” were the 027 strain.

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She said: “It's not unusual to see a rise in the number of hospital acquired infections from December into spring because it's a time when people with long-term conditions have a weak resistance.

“We have been reporting at various times of the year when we have closed wards and taken immediate action to prevent risks.

“We know we have got to do more and go further and faster to safeguard patients.

“Our key message is for people who have concerns to make sure they talk to us.”

The Evening Star revealed in February how Ipswich Hospital is investing £300,000 to crack down on the spread of infection after a cash injection from the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA).

It said it would be upgrading cleaning techniques and hand-washing and commode facilities.

The hospital said preventing the spread of infection is its highest clinical priority and it was not happy with current levels.

A spokeswoman for the SHA said: “Any death from Clostridium Difficile (C-Diff) is a tragedy for those involved and their families. The SHA is working with trusts to ensure everything possible is being done to reduce and minimise the risk of C-Diff.”

n Have you been affected C-Diff or any other superbug? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Clostridium Difficile is an intestinal infection which causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting. It is present as one of the normal bacteria in the gut of up to three per cent of healthy adults.

It can cause illness when antibiotics disturb the balance of the normal bacteria.

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