Huge numbers of hospital bug cases being ‘missed’

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Tens of thousands of cases of a potentially-deadly hospital bug are missed in Europe each year, a study by experts in Yorkshire has found.

Experts from Leeds University said more than 39,000 cases of Clostridium difficile go untreated due to a lack of clinical suspicion or inadequate testing.

Medical microbiologist Prof Mark Wilcox said countries with increased awareness of the illness have been able to improve early diagnosis and reduce outbreaks linked to its most virulent strains.

“This study highlights that it is essential that we improve the implementation of testing in hospitals, in order to tackle the issue of the increasing incidence of the bug across Europe,” he said.

Research involving nearly 500 hospitals across Europe found more than half were still not using the most accurate testing procedure for the infection and more than one in five samples found to be positive for C.diff had not been tested by local hospitals.

It also revealed that more than half of hospitals only test for the infection at a doctor’s request.

Prof Wilcox added: “Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is a condition which causes considerable suffering for patients and is a huge economic burden to hospitals across Europe. These results reveal that there is still more to be done in order to optimise CDI management and prevention.”