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Illustration about prevention and control of Clostridium difficile outbreaks in a hospital setting. C. difficile causes severe diarrhoea, especially in patients who have had their normal intestinal flora destroyed by antibiotics, leaving them vulnerable to an overgrowth of this harmful bacteria. These organisms can form spores that are resistant to heat and alcohol-based hand cleaners. The spores can remain viable for a long period of time and can be cultured from almost any surface in a hospital. The rate of infection is estimated at 13% in patients with hospital stays of up to 2 weeks and 50% in those with stays of over 4 weeks.
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