The Clostridium difficile bacterium resulted in nearly 500,000 infections and 29,000 deaths in the United States in 2011, Dr. Fernanda C. Lessa and her coauthors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

In a study of 10 geographic regions in the United States in 2011, 15,461 cases were confirmed, with the estimated incidence of the infection being 453,000 (95% confidence interval, 397,100-508,500) after predictors of incidence were adjusted for, the investigators found. The estimated number of deaths from C. difficile was 29,300 (95% CI, 16,500-42,100). Estimates for disease incidence were higher among women, whites, and patients 65 years of age or older, wrote Dr. Lessa and associates.

Future efforts should focus on antibiotic use, which may be effective in decreasing infection rates, the authors said in the report.

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