C. diff infections go unreported?

Advocates call for specific infection-reporting regulation

How cases of a potentially deadly infection common to health-care settings are reported in California has raised the concern of patient advocates.

State law requires hospitals to report cases of Clostridium difficile—a serious gastrointestinal infection responsible for 14,000 to 30,000 deaths in the United States each year—to the Department of Public Health, which began issuing reports of hospital infections in 2010, according to California Healthline. But other health-care facilities like physicians’ offices, nursing facilities and surgical centers are not currently required to report cases of C. difficile, also known simply as “C. diff”—and 75 percent of individuals who have the infection are diagnosed outside of hospitals.

Though state law asks for health-care providers to “report outbreaks of any disease,” medical experts have argued that all health-care facilities should be bound by a specific law regarding C. diff.

Symptoms of the C. diff infection include severe diarrhea and abdominal pain.