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Doctors to cut C difficile infection rates

A study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy provides the best available evidence that cases of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), one of the most common and increasing types of hospital acquired infection, can be reduced in hospital wards if doctors prescribe narrow-spectrum antibiotics rather than broad-spectrum agents.

Researchers at the Royal Free Hospital in London, which now has the lowest CDI rates of any teaching hospital in the UK, investigated the best way to encourage doctors to make the switch from broad- to narrow-spectrum agents. They found that use of a pocket-sized laminated card telling doctors which antibiotics to prescribe, combined with feedback on antibiotics use and CDI rates, led to a significant drop in prescriptions of broad-spectrum agents and an accompanying fall in CDI rates.