Coronavirus (COVID-19): visiting The Royal Marsden suspended

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest: Visiting The Royal Marsden is still suspended, but we want to reassure our patients, their families and anyone worried about cancer during this difficult time that we are still delivering treatment - the hospital is open. Please see more information here about how we are keeping everyone safe.

C. difficile

Clostridium difficile, often shortened to C. difficile or C. diff, is a bacteria which lives in the gut. 

Following disturbance of the normal bacteria in the gut, C. diff can produce a toxin which causes diarrhoea. Chemotherapy, antibiotic usage and surgery on the gut can all increase the risk of this happening. 

Controlling it can be difficult because the germ produces spores which can remain in the environment for long periods of time. High standards of cleaning using chlorine (bleach) are needed to remove spores from the environment.

Hand hygiene is very important – hands must be washed with soap and water and dried thoroughly as the spores are not killed by alcohol hand rub.

Procedures for C. difficile prevention and control

In order to reduce the risk of C. difficile infection even further, we closely examine key factors from every new case to ensure that everything that should have been done was done, and to identify where we can do even more in future.

If you are diagnosed with C. difficile infection or suffer symptoms that could be due to C. difficile you will be cared for in a single room and staff will wear gloves and aprons. This is to reduce the risk of infection spreading to other vulnerable people and should not be taken personally.