Wash your cloths, now: Dirty Laundry may cause Environmental Contamination

A new paper published in FEMS Microbiology Letters, resulting from an investigation of a laundry facility that services several Seattle-area hospitals, suggests that soiled clinical linens may be a source of surface Clostridium difficile contamination.

C. difficile is a hospital and community acquired pathogen. C. difficile are spore-forming anaerobic bacteria that have been identified in 2-3% of healthy, non-hospitalized adults and in 10-25% of hospitalized adults. Toxin-producing C. difficile is the most common cause of hospital-acquired diarrhea. It is estimated that 25% of all C. difficile infections occur from exposures in the community that may stem from potential sources including water, soil, livestock, meats, vegetables and pets. There is evidence that C. difficile infections are seasonal and are correlated with 151 respiratory illnesses in the winter, due to antibiotic use.

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