we have reported these statistics since 1999 to 2001 onwards
the statistics are published in August each year (8 months after the reference period)
information is supplied once a death is registered; each record is held on the Deaths Registration Database
data is collected when Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection was mentioned in the death certificate of the underlying cause of death
C. difficile is a spore forming bacterium, it can cause diarrhoea and severe inflammation of the bowel. Vulnerable people and people being treated with antibiotics are at the highest risk of getting C. difficile. It is normally spread on the hands of healthcare staff of other people that have been in contact with an infected patient.
The figures for Wales are broken down by sex, age group and place of death. They are based on deaths registered each calendar year, rather than those occurring in each year.
All deaths in Wales are coded according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The specific code we use is A04.7 for Enterocolitis due to C. difficile. We have collated death certificates and the ICD codes since 1993, which has made it possible to identify the records where C. difficile is mentioned, but may not be coded.
The C. difficile statistics are used for monitoring trends in healthcare associated infections. They are used to inform policy, planning and research in both public and private sectors. This helps the policy makers and healthcare establishments to target their resources effectively.
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