C. diff Kills More People Than Ebola
Halosil Blog

Timely insights on whole room disinfection.

HospitalsJanuary 2, 2015

C. diff Kills More People Than Ebola

by Halosil

Ebola, the deadly virus that has killed more than 7,500 people, has galvanized the health care community across the world.

It’s a terrible disease with a mortality rate of one in five people who are infected.

The Real Headline

There is a far more common infection that claims many more lives and should be making headlines. Clostridioides difficile, or C. diff, is a growing health hazard, infecting more than 400,000 Americans a year, many of them frail, elderly patients.

By contrast, only 10 people in the United States have been infected with Ebola, and two have died, according to an article in Forbes by Robert Pearl, M.D., CEO of The Permanente Medical Group. Dr. Pearl says C. diff poses the far greater risk.

Yet Ebola strikes terror in the American public, while C. diff lurks under the radar.

The C. diff Difference

Even more frightening is widespread ignorance of the toll of C. diff, which kills at least 14,000 Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. C. diff is shed in feces and causes diarrhea that can be fatal.

Further, the incidence of C. diff is rising, while other healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) are in decline.

So what makes C. diff such an insidious threat? First, it’s a spore with a hard shell that protects the bad guy. Second, C. diff can live for a long time on surfaces, such as toilets, sinks, bathtubs and other surfaces people touch. The spores also can be spread around a room by air currents.

But that doesn’t mean C. diff can’t be stopped. In fact, C. diff is highly preventable, in part by diligent hand washing by patients and healthcare workers. However, the Halo Disinfection System, a whole-room fogger that has a validated 99.9999% kill rate against C. diff and a number of other pathogens, has been shown to reduce C. diff. infections by 66 percent by decontaminating entire rooms.

C. diff is growing due to a lack of precautions. Studies show that up to one-third of healthcare workers are lax about hand washing. Plus, the vast majority of hospitals and healthcare facilities have not yet invested in whole-room fogging systems that provide total room surface disinfection and cost less than $15 per treated room.

Hopefully, Ebola will soon join the ranks of Legionnaire’s Disease and other illnesses that sparked widespread public fear before they were controlled.

Meanwhile, the number of C. diff cases mounts. The time to take action is now. Tens of thousands of lives are at stake each and every year.