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For Clinicians: 6 Steps to Prevention

  1. Prescribe and use antibiotics carefully. About 50% of all antibiotics given are not needed, unnecessarily raising the risk of C. difficile infections.
  2. Test for C. difficile when patients have diarrhea while on antibiotics or within several months of taking them.
  3. Isolate patients with C. difficile immediately.
  4. Wear gloves and gowns when treating patients with C. difficile, even during short visits. Hand sanitizer does not kill C. difficile, and hand washing may not be sufficient.
  5. Clean room surfaces with bleach or another EPA-approved, spore-killing disinfectant after a patient with C. difficile has been treated there.
  6. When a patient transfers, notify the new facility if the patient has a C. difficile infection.

C. difficile infections can be prevented. Doctors and other medical staff can avoid prescribing unnecessary antibiotics, identify and isolate C. difficile patients early, and wear gloves when treating these patients.

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CDC Expert Commentaries

Dr. Carolyn GouldTesting for Clostridium difficile Infection

Dr. Carolyn Gould talks about which patients should be tested for C. difficile, which testing methods are appropriate, and one thing you should not do.



To help address the challenges of managing and controlling healthcare-associated infection outbreaks in healthcare settings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering toolkits for healthcare professionals including up-to-date information, recommended infection control measures, and tools for outbreak response coordination and reporting. The toolkits contain a variety of materials to support outbreak response as well as staff and patient education efforts.

Clostridium difficile Infections Tools


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