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Wider Spread for Hospital-Linked Infections

In a recent year, more than 450,000 Americans had a type of severe diarrhea that most often occurs in health-care facilities. But one-third of them had not been in a hospital or nursing home recently, a study found. About 29,000 of those who were infected died. The diarrhea was caused by Clostridium difficile (C. diff) bacteria. These infections are hard to cure. Researchers used information from 2011. They looked at C. diff infections in 10 states. Two-thirds of them occurred in hospitals and nursing homes. The other one-third occurred in the community. But 80% of the community patients had been to see a doctor or dentist recently. Most of them received antibiotics. C. diff bacteria are most likely to grow and produce toxins when antibiotics kill the normal, harmless bacteria in the intestine. The New England Journal of Medicine published the study.

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