Three Valley hospitals on national list of low infection rate

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Three Valley hospitals are being recognized as having the lowest infection rate of bacteria called Clostridioides difficile or C. diff.

C. diff can infect an individuals' gut, causing severe diarrhea or death. It typically occurs after the use of antibiotics, and it most commonly affects older adults in nursing homes or hospitals.

However, Adventist Health in the Central Valley has seen patients of all ages get infected.

"Back in 2016, we had 32 cases of C. difficile in our four-hospital system. Last year, we had six. The year before that -- three," said Teri Boggess, Director of Infection. "Had a little bump up because we had a lot of COVID patients who stayed longer."

Adventist Health Reedley is now being recognized for having one of the lowest rates of infection in California.

Officials credit prevention measures. In particular, its Antibiotic Stewardship Program. It's a partnership between the divisions of infection prevention, infectious diseases and pharmacy.

"They are able to assess the patient's stage of infection where the right antibiotic is given at the right time with the right dose," said Ed Abukhazneh, Director of Pharmacy.

He added: "Prevention is key. C. diff is caused primarily by misuse or overutilization of antibiotics."

Providing the best patient care remains the priority for Adventist Health, which is why preventing hospital-acquired infections is so important.

Officials said they would do that by continuing their current work, looking at updated studies and using good hygiene practices.

"That's how we stay ahead of the curve and prevent those C. diff incidents," Abukhazneh said.

Madera Community Hospital and Memorial Hospital Los Banos were also listed as California hospitals with the lowest C. diff infection rates.

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