nb-illness

The Saint John Regional Hospital has confirmed one case of C. difficile. The bacterial infection is being blamed for four deaths in Nova Scotia. (Google Streetview)

The Saint John Regional Hospital is dealing with at least one confirmed case of C. difficile — the same antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection linked to four deaths at Cape Breton hospitals in recent weeks.

Sharon Hatfield, a daughter of the New Brunswick patient, says stricter controls should be placed on potential cases of the highly contagious infection.

Hatfield said she took her 83-year-old father to the Saint John Regional Hospital emergency room two weeks ago with flu-like symptoms of diarrhea, abdominal pain and dehydration.

He was admitted right away, but it took three days for tests to confirm he was suffering from a C. difficile infection.

Hatfield said her father wasn't isolated during that time and she worries other people may have been infected by the bacteria, which is found in feces and spread by touch.

She thinks the hospital should treat suspected cases of the super bug as confirmed until test results come back.

She also believes the patient should be separated from other patients, and visitors and staff should wear gloves and gowns.

Hospital officials were expected to comment later Friday.

Meanwhile, in Cape Breton, at least 21 patients have tested positive for C. difficile, which preys on the elderly and the weak.

The bacteria grow in the large bowel and cause diarrhea and serious intestinal conditions.

Frequent hand washing with warm, soapy water is considered the best defence.