Five deaths in the last year have been linked to Clostridium Difficile according to figures from an NHS Trust in Nottinghamshire.
The trust reported nine serious Clostridium Difficile related incidents over a period spanning from April to March in 2015.
The figures also show an increase in 113 cases in the last year, a rise of 26% from the 90 cases reported in the same period in 2014.
In one particular outbreak last year 12 patients across two wards were infected with Clostridium Difficile also known as C. Diff, which was the first outbreak of linked cases since January 2013.
The Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust had set a target to try and restrict the number of cases to under 98.
Dr Stephen Fowlie, Medical Director at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We have very good C Diff testing procedures to ensure we act quickly to isolate all potential cases of infection. This includes patients receiving prompt treatment and enhanced infection control procedures to prevent the spread of infection.
We have substantially reduced hospital-acquired C Diff in recent years.
Dr Stephen Fowlie.
C. Diff usually affects those that have been taking antibiotics which interfere with the bacteria in the gut, this then causes the bug to reach unusually high levels and release toxins that attack the intestines.
The disease is known to kill 1 in 12 people that it infects.
Hospitals usually advise washing hands thoroughly with the alcohol gel provided, but in the case of C. Diff this approach doesn’t work.
Dr Sarah Kuehne is part of a research group at the University of Nottingham that studies C. Diff and other similar bacteria.
She said: “When C. Diff is outside the body in an oxygen rich environment it will be in spore form where it will just hit on your hands and if you rub the gel around your hands you are basically just spreading them even more.”
Video: Dr Sarah Kuehne gives advice on stopping the spread of C. Diff.
The trust has emphasised the ‘crucial importance’ that everyone who visits hospitals thoroughly washes their hands with soap to help prevent the spread of this bug.