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More deaths “linked” to superbug


It has emerged that three more patients have died amid an ongoing Clostridium difficile (C difficile) superbug outbreak in Northern Ireland.

Twenty three deaths have now been linked to the infection since its emergence in Northern Health Trust hospitals last summer, and 10 of those patients have died since the New Year.

A trust spokesman said 15 patients are still affected by the bug with a further 11 classified as recovering from it.

But he stressed that not all of the cases are linked to the highly virulent 027 C difficile strain which has only recently been found in Northern Ireland.

“Samples from patients associated with C difficile have been sent for analysis to a central reference laboratory,” he said.

“From the initial results we can confirm that not all of those infected have the recently identified ribotype 027.”

The bacterium, which mostly affects people who are over 65, causes diarrhoea and in extreme cases can lead to a rupturing of the bowel.

Though the extent of the outbreak is well known within the Northern Trust area the province’s four other trusts have not yet published statistics to indicate how many deaths were linked to the bug in their areas in 2007.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

Northern Health Trust

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