Recent stats show no cases of C. difficile in local hospitals

County hospitals have not had any recent cases of clostridium difficile, according to information provided by local health officials.

Statistics were released last week by the Waterloo-Wellington Infection Control Network, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Long Term care.

In August, Groves Memorial in Fergus, Louise Marshall in Mount Forest, and Palmerston and District hospitals had zero combined cases of C difficile, one of many types of bacteria that can be found in human feces.

Jerome Quenneville, CEO of the Wellington hospitals, said staff members have been working with the regional Infection Control Network to ensure safe practices to help lower the risk of C.difficile spreading.

He noted there have been cases of the bacteria in local hospitals in the past because it is active in the community.

C. difficile has been a known cause of hospital-associated diarrhea for about 30 years, and since 2004, there have been over 500 known deaths from C. difficile in 27 of Ontario’s 157 hospitals.

C. difficile can be picked up on the hands from exposure to contamination in the environment and gets into the stomach once the mouth is touched, or if food is handled and then swallowed.

Confirmed cases in other area hospitals in August are as follows:

– Cambridge Memorial, zero cases;

– Grand River, Freeport site, less than five cases, with an incident rate of 0.35 per 1,000 patient days in August;

– Grand River, Kitchener-Waterloo site, less than five cases, with an incident rate of 0.53;

– Guelph General, less than five cases, with an incident rate of 0.46;

– Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, zero cases;

– St. Mary’s General in Kitchener, less than five cases, with an incident rate of 1.00; and

– St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Guelph, zero cases.

The public release of this information will allow hospitals to establish a baseline from which rates can be tracked over time, and compared against a provincial benchmark.

“Providing disclosure also helps to keep the community informed,” Quenneville said.

Dr. Martha Fulford, coordinator of the Waterloo Wellington Infection Control Network, agreed.

And Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, added, “Public Health looks forward to continued collaboration with the hospitals in the area of infection prevention and control, in the prevention of C. difficile outbreaks and their management should one occur.”

For more information on C. difficile, or the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s patient safety reporting initiative, visit the Ministry’s website at