Eastern Health confirmed Friday that two of the cases of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) identified on a medicine unit at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's, were the result of in-hospital transmission.

The health authority launched an investigation in March after an outbreak on one of the hospital's units.

To determine whether there was in-hospital transmission, samples from seven patients were sent to a lab in Winnipeg, Man. Of those samples, it was determined that two patients got the infection while in hospital.

Of the seven cases that were sent for testing, two patients died. There was one other death identified before the outbreak started. Eastern Health however, said C. difficile was not the ultimate cause of these deaths.

In a statement, the health authority said the investigation will help prevent the spread of infection in the future.

C. difficile is a serious gastrointestinal illness that causes severe diarrhea and is often caused by the overuse of antibiotics. The bacteria can survive for long periods of time on surfaces.

Eastern Health said it sees about 50 cases of C. difficile at its facilities annually.