Cards to prevent infection relapse

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Patients who have suffered a clostridium difficile infection are to be given a card to help reduce the risk of a relapse of the infection.

C. difficile is a bacterial infection that affects the digestive system. Symptoms can include diarrhoea, a high temperature and painful stomach cramps.

A course of antibiotics can trigger a relapse. Therefore, patients are being asked to show the card to doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals to alert them to the infection to avoid prescribing medications that could cause a relapse.

There were 303 cases in Derbyshire in 2013/14, including 22 in Erewash. However, a new strain causing more severe infection has emerged recently.

Dr Avi Bhatia, chairman of NHS Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you’re visiting someone in hospital with C. difficile, you can reduce the risk of spreading infection by washing your hands before and after entering the bed space. Alcohol hand gel is not effective against C. difficile spores so the use of soap and water is essential.”