Nova Scotia

3 new C. difficile cases in Cape Breton

The Cape Breton District Health Authority has confirmed three new cases of C. difficile.

The Cape Breton District Health Authority has confirmed three new cases of C. difficile.

All cases are on the fourth floor of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney.

Health Authority spokesman Greg Boone said increased restrictions have been imposed on all units on that floor, except pediatrics.

But, Boone said this isn't an outbreak — they are just taking precautions.

"What we would be looking at in relation to an outbreak would be a number of new cases in one unit at the same time. So, we know that we will average in the district about six new cases a month now, but that doesn't qualify as an outbreak," he said Friday.

"What would put us in an outbreak mode would be a number of cases at the same time in one unit or one specific area."

The additional precautions mean that only two immediate family members can visit at a time and no one under the age of 12 is allowed in the hospital.

Also, people who are sick cannot visit.   Boone said they ask people to cooperate with the precautions and to wash their hands before and after visiting the hospital.

"We have to be vigilant, and we can't be complacent," he said.

Forty-nine in-hospital cases of C. difficile have been reported since the beginning of the year in Cape Breton, and the bacteria were implicated in six hospital deaths.

Clostridium difficile is a bacterium commonly found in the intestine, but C. difficile infections can be life-threatening for those taking antibiotics or people with pre-existing serious health issues.

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