Honore-Mercier hospital in St.Hyacinthe, 65 km south east of Montreal has had an outbreak of Clostridium difficile related diarrhoea which is still to be contained . 22 patients ,elderly people who had other ailments as well have been affected.
The infection has been linked to the death of nine patients since July and is believed have been responsible for around 2000 deaths in Quebec between 2003 and 2004.
Doctors at the hospital suspect an entirely different and virulent strain to have emerged , but this claim has been dismissed by the leading expert on C.difficile infections and Quebec's top public health officer. Mark Miller, head of a national surveillance group on C. difficile for the Public Health Agency of Canada says that the strain is the same as the one which emerged in 2004.
It is much more toxic than the previous strains and therefore hospitals have to observe very strict infection control measures."With the strain we have here in Quebec, there's no room for errors and no room for being lax," Miller said.
"You have to have excellent infection control all the time. You have to have great housekeeping all the time. If you become lax, the hospitals have shown that this strain causes outbreaks."
The infections are all the more perplexing because the hospital has been recently renovated , and half the building is being disinfected now. Visitors have been restricted , and infants are not allowed in. The situation at the hospital is being monitored and the provincial director of public health, Horacio Arruda is said to be satisfied with the measures taken to combat the infection.
Outbreaks of various strains of C.difficile have occured in the US, Britain and Netherlands as well.