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Stopping The Spread Of C. diff

08/21/12 12:00PM By Jane Lindholm
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Photo: Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
A micrograph of the Clostridium difficile bacteria.

Health-care related infections have been decreasing over the last few years. But that's not the case for Clostridium difficile or C. diff. The Center for Disease Control recently reported that patients hospitalized with the infection have tripled in recent years and deaths attributed to it have quadrupled. And most cases can be traced back to contact with the health care system.

Over the past several years, there have been outbreaks of C. diff in Quebec and in the U.K. Vermont has seen an increase in a more resistant strain of C. diff called the NAP1 strain.

Aimee Shen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at UVM and W. Kemper Alston, M.D., Professor of Medicine at UVM and an infectious disease specialist at Fletcher Allen Health Care, discuss the nature of C. diff, its causes and symptoms, its prevalence in area hospitals and what can be done to stop its spread.

Also in the program, the oral history of Tropical Storm Irene. The Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury has been organizing "story circles" over the last year where people who were affected by Irene talk in groups and record their experiences. We talk with Folklife Center interim co-director Greg Sharrow, about the value of capturing the stories for a lasting archive, and how telling their stories helps individuals reckon with the disaster.

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c._diff clostridium_difficile vt_edition_picks health
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