Nothing Brings a Smile to a State Epidemiologist’s Face Like a Deadly Gut Bug

Maine ranks second in the nation for deaths from a nasty infection spread in health care facilities, according to new data. The bug, called Clostridium difficile, is a gastrointestinal bacteria that most often strikes people who are both taking antibiotics and receiving medical treatment. The infection is linked to 14,000 deaths each year nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Maine’s mortality rate from the germ is 5.5 deaths per 100,000 people, second only to Rhode Island, where C. difficile results in 8.2 deaths per 100,000 people, according to Extending the Cure, a Washington, D.C.-based project on antibiotic resistance funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The ranking is based on 2007 data. It shows the highest death rates from C. difficile in the Northeast. (read more at the Lewiston Sun Journal)