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Doctors voice “infection concerns”

Doctors in Northern Ireland are becoming increasingly concerned about hospital infections after a 40% rise in the number of elderly patients contracting them.

Four out of five health trusts saw an increase in the rate of Clostridium difficile (C difficile) among patients aged over 65 last autumn.

And around 42 people died during a recent outbreak in the Northern Health Trust area with the infection linked to 77 deaths in total last year.

Communicable diseases expert Dr Brian Smyth said: “The rise in C. diff diarrhoea (CDAD) is of concern and this rise was not confined to the Northern Trust.

“The next quarter CDAD statistics will be particularly important to see if the underlying reduction in CDAD that was witnessed for most of last year can be resumed.”

Some 297 reports of the illness were made in the three months ending in December compared with 212 in the previous quarter.

And medics recorded a similar increase in GP reports of the bacteria in the community.

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Northern Health Trust