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Another death tied to C.difficile at Ontario hospital

Photo By Ruth Bonneville Emma Ongsansoy, Technologist at the National Microbiology laboratory in Winnipeg, examines a plate of c.difficile through a Bio Safety cabinet. March 9, 2007

Ruth Bonneville/The Globe and Mail

Another death has been tied to C. difficile as the number of Ontario hospitals battling outbreaks of the infection dropped to six Thursday.

An elderly patient who had the illness died at the Guelph General Hospital, the second death this week associated with an outbreak at the facility.

Hospital spokesman Perry Hagerman says the patient contracted the infection last month.

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Meanwhile, a Mississauga hospital ended its outbreak Thursday, though some of its patients still have the illness.

Clostridium difficile, a bacterial infection that typically spreads through contact with fecal matter, has been linked to at least 23 deaths in Ontario hospitals since late May.

Four hospitals in the Niagara region, one in Guelph and one in Orangeville are still struggling to contain outbreaks of the bug.

One more patient at a Welland hospital has tested positive for the infection, said Sue Matthews, spokeswoman for the Niagara Health System.

A hospital in Niagara Falls is now dealing with an outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a superbug known as MRSA, as well as C. difficile, she said.

Ms. Matthews said each new case is "demoralizing" for hospital staff who are doing their best to combat the bug.

Hospitals can declare an outbreak over once there are no new hospital-acquired cases for 30 days.

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