A new strain of a deadly superbug has been found nowhere in the world – except Fife

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A NEW strain of the deadly superbug C.diff is found nowhere in the world – but Fife.
The clostridium difficile 332 strain sparked a national alert earlier this year when three people died after contracted the infection while in hospital.
The strain, which has been named ribotype 332  has struck five times in total since December last year.
The NHS has refused to identify the two hospitals involved on the grounds of “patient confidentiality” but both are in Fife.
Health Protection Scotland, who were established by the Scottish Government to strengthen health protection, described the infection, which caused deaths as the first of their kind in the worldwide.
NHS Fife’s medical director Dr Gordon Birnie revealed that a study by scientists at Cambridge University had found that the strain had been contained to Fife.
C.diff is a type of bacterial infection that can affect the digestive system. It most commonly affects people who have been staying in hospital. Symptoms of this include, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. It can also cause life threatening effects such as swelling of the bowel.
A ribotype is the specific pattern of DNA  to a bacterial strain.
So far, authorities have been unable to find a source for the infection and work is ongoing to determine whether the cases are linked.
NHS Fife have said they will not reveal the hospitals which were affected by the strain due to patient confidentiality.
The first two cases of the strain were identified in December 2012 and January 2013, before a third case was identified at another hospital in March.
All three patients, who were severely ill with underlying conditions, died after contracting the C.diff 332 infection.
More recently, two more cases have been identified, were both patients recovered.
An NHS Fife spokesman said: “The initial report published through HPS made clear that two hospitals were involved but, as we are legally bound to protect patient confidentiality, we are unable to comment further.”
AN HPS spokesperson said: “C.diff is a bacterium that a small proportion of adults carry in their gut without any signs of illness.
“It’s more common among hospital patients receiving antibiotic treatment, as they tend to ‘wipe out’ the natural bacterial gut flora which normally acts as a defence barrier against bacteria that are ingested accidentally.
“It’s passed out in infected faeces and can survive for a long time on any surface such as toilet areas, clothing, sheets and furniture.”
Chief medical officer, Professor Sally Davies said: “There are few public health issues of greater importance than anti-microbial resistance in terms of impact on society. The harsh reality is infections are increasingly developing that cannot be treated.”

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