C. difficile


Clostridium Difficile (also known as C. difficile and C. diff) can be part of the normal bacteria that live in the large intestine. It can also be acquired during hospital admission. Nosocomial C. difficile is also called hospital-acquired C. difficile. Taking certain antibiotics can change the normal balance of bacteria in your large intestine, making it easier for C. difficile to grow and cause inflammation in the intestinal tract and diarrhea.

To find out more about C.difficile, see our section on Frequently Asked Questions and visit the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website. 


C. difficile is most commonly spread by person-to-person contact. The microorganisms can also be spread on the hands of health care providers and medical equipment, if not properly disinfected.


North York General Hospital regularly monitors and reviews infection rates and uses this information to execute best practice protective measures and continually improve patient care and safety.

The rate of hospital-acquired C. difficile is calculated as the total number of patients with hospital-acquired C. difficile per 1,000 inpatient days, and the absolute number of cases in the monthly reporting period. Go to the Health Quality Ontario website to see NYGH's rate of C. difficile infections in hospital patients.
Learn more about public reporting and patient safety on the Health Quality Ontario website.
Learn more about C. difficile on the Canadian Patient Safety Institute website.

What we are doing to improve patient safety

Our hospital has undertaken many initiatives to provide patients with safer care. One of these, North York General Hospital's Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) initiative, is improving patient safety in a number of ways, including:
  • Developing a comprehensive system for screening and surveillance of high-risk patients for infectious syndromes (e.g. diarrhea, meningitis, etc.) and antibiotic-resistant organisms m(ethicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, vancomycin-resistant enterococci or VRE, C. difficile, etc.)

  • Enhancing our Infection Prevention and Control Program

  • Actively implementing an aggressive hand washing campaign across the entire hospital to dramatically increase hand washing compliance rates

  • Engaging North York General staff in developing plans to respond to pandemic influenza