Canadian province sees seven cases of deadly ‘clostridium difficile’

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The Prince Edward Island government says there are now 37 cases of a rare but potentially deadly bacterial infection in Canada.

The Health Department has released new data confirming seven cases of Clostridium difficile in eastern Canada’s second-largest province.

Eight of the 37 cases were reported in Prince Edward Island in November and December 2017.

Experts say the infection has increased in the region because of an increase in homeless people.

It can cause diarrhoea, fever and gasping for breath.

‘Predictive modalities’

“One only has to remember the current turn of events in Europe to recognise that something is very, very, very concerning in the NHS,” Prince Edward Island health critic Helen Kim told Radio New Brunswick.

“We know that we have the potential for this outbreak to continue for quite some time.”

Clostridium difficile can spread quickly among homeless people, when they receive contaminated items such as toiletries or food, before becoming unwell themselves.

Ms Kim says there are times when people may be expected to shelter under the covers while seeking medical help.

But she noted that many of the men who have contracted the infection on Prince Edward Island have been using shelters without washing their hands.

“There’s always a risk, and we don’t know if we’re at risk of these very rapidly spreading around,” said Ms Kim.

“But I think we are now being really vigilant as a ministry. We’re doing a great deal of follow-up to try and track the number of cases.”

Meanwhile, at least 19 people remain on a clinical waitlist for treatment after a large outbreak in Vermont.

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