Could the patient in hospital bed before you put you at risk?


When a hospital patient is taking antibiotics, the next person to use the same bed may face an elevated risk of infection with the dangerous germ Clostridium difficile, a new study suggests.

C. difficile, a bacterium that causes inflammation of the colon and causes life-threatening diarrhea, is found in U.S. hospitals. Scientists have known that antibiotic use can contribute to the germ’s spread, but this new report says it’s not just the patient taking the medication who’s at risk.

Because the germ spores can persist, patients later assigned to the same hospital bed may have increased odds of getting C. difficile, researchers found.

“This study provides evidence that there is a herd effect with antibiotics,” said lead researcher Dr. Daniel Freedberg, a gastroenterologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. “In other words, antibiotics have the potential…



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