The age range for which the surveillance of patients with C difficile is mandatory will be expanded, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales has said.
Currently, only information on patients aged 65 and over is published, but Dr Tony Jewell said this will now be extended to cover all confirmed cases of the infection in patients aged two and above.
The new measures follow expert advice from the Welsh Healthcare Associated Infection team at the National Public Health Service for Wales and Welsh Assembly Government health professionals.
The data will be published for the first time in September on the number of patients confirmed with C difficile between January and the end of June 2008.
Dr Jewell said: “Up to 3% of healthy adults carry C difficile and generally it causes them no harm. All patients over the age of two who are suspected of having antibiotic associated diarrhoea are routinely tested for C difficile and the laboratory results are recorded but not published.
“To ensure consistent reporting of C difficile, a new protocol is being developed for when and how to test for this infection.”
Other recommendations include: enhanced surveillance information linked to strain typing to be collected on a percentage of cases from each laboratory; the development of an agreed protocol for the laboratory testing of specimens for C difficile from all patients of whatever age.
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