Scientific American, April 9, 2013
Few people check into a hospital expecting to come down with a severe case of diarrhea while undergoing care for an entirely unrelated problem. And even fewer expect to die of the hospital-acquired intestinal infection that causes the watery stools. Yet for approximately 14,000 Americans each year, that is exactly what happens. The culprit is a strain of a spore-forming bacterium known as Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. The new strain of C. diff, called NAP1, emerged in the mid-2000s, and is at least in part responsible for skyrocketing infection rates in hospitals throughout the U.S. Even though deaths from NAP1 are on the rise, many hospitals fail to take simple and inexpensive measures to prevent infection.