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Clostridium difficile with increased virulence in the UK
15 hospitals are hit by the outbreak of a new virulent strain of the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium difficile, and so far the organism has contributed to 25 deaths. At the moment, 75 cases have been confirmed by the specialists at the specialist laboratory in Cardiff. This is the only one in the UK equipped to analyse the new strain.

These facts health minister Jane Kennedy presented yesterday, 29 Jun 2005.

The statistics reveal the outbreak of the new strain, which last week was confirmed at a 2nd hospital in the UK, is much wider than originally believed.

Hospitals where the strain has appeared are in:
Preston, Birmingham, Winchester, Bristol, Romford, Southampton, Truro, Carshalton, High Wycombe South Tyneside, Newcastle, South Tees, Sunderland, Stoke Mandeville and Exeter.

All 75 known cases of _C. difficile_ 027 have occurred since 1999, the Department of Health said this morning, 30 Jun 2005. A spokesman
said: `This figure has to be put in the historical context - it refers to all the cases that we have ever come across and goes back
to 1999.`

The department rejected the suggestion that the laboratory at Cardiff was unable to cope with the present or any increased demand in the future.

Not surprisingly, this ribotype 027 hypertoxin-producer continues to spread. It is not clear if, aside from the increased amount of toxin
production, the organism is less sensitive to metronidazole or vancomycin.

Source: www.promedmail.org


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