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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

C. diff tough, but IPs are battling back

Baltimore: While Clostridium difficile has clearly won several of the early rounds, infection preventionists are making progress in the fight to prevent C. diff infections (CDIs), according to a new survey by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Perhaps most importantly, antimicrobial stewardship programs are slowly increasing. Sixty percent of respondents are using antimicrobial stewardship programs at their facilities, compared with 52% in 2010. Because antimicrobial use is one of the most important risk factors for CDI, stewardship programs that promote judicious use of antimicrobials should be encouraged, APIC noted.

Other survey findings include:

--Healthcare facilities are making CDI a tracking and monitoring priority. Three-quarters of respondents had been performing surveillance for CDI before the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reporting requirements went into effect in January 2013.

--A known killer of C. diff, bleach is widely used over many less effective cleaners. Two-thirds of respondents (67%) use bleach for all daily and discharge cleaning of rooms with CDI patients. Moreover, new tech weapons are being brought to bear on the persistent spores, as 9% of respondents report using at least one of the emerging disinfection technologies such as ultraviolet light or vaporized hydrogen peroxide.

APIC conducted the 2013 CDI Pace of Progress survey in January 2013 to assess activities that have been implemented in U.S. healthcare facilities in the last three years to prevent and control CDI. A total of 1,087 APIC members completed the survey, which was intended to provide a general overview of trends and indicate areas where more in-depth research might be beneficial