Two Lower Mainland hospitals that have battled high rates of C. difficile infection in recent years will be part of the first full clinical trials for a vaccine against the bacteria.
Patients who are at Royal Columbian Hospital and Surrey Memorial Hospital will be offered the vaccine.
Fraser Health officials say the vaccine attacks the toxins that damage the bowel and early data shows it may produce a positive response from the body to fight off the diarrhea-causing infection, even in the elderly.
C. difficile (Clostridium difficile) kills 2,000 Canadians a year and authorities are concerned about new strains that have developed in Quebec and are thought linked to many deaths.
“This is an exciting opportunity to get on top of this nasty organism,” Fraser Health chief medical health officer Dr. Paul Van Buynder.
“It costs the health care system millions of dollars to treat and control this organism, not to mention the cost to patients. We are looking forward to running a trial of the vaccine and work towards better managing this ever-increasing challenge.”
The trial will begin near the end of August and continue for 30 months.
Patients expected to be in hospital over the next 60 days will be asked to participate.
And others who have been in hospital at least twice over the last 12 months and have taken antibiotics will also be recruited.
Several Fraser Health hospitals conducted intensified cleaning operations in 2012 in response to higher than average C. difficile infection rates.
For more information on the trial or to participate, call 1-855-587-7889 or see www.Cdiffense.org.