C.diff (Clostridium difficile)

Atlanta ___

A nasty, sometimes deadly stomach bug is at least six times more common than was thought, researchers said Tuesday, based on a survey of hundreds of U.S. hospitals.

The germ, Clostridium difficile, is resistant to some antibiotics and has become a regular menace in hospitals and nursing homes.

Doctors say it plays a role in hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations each year and that the number has been growing.

The latest study estimates that more than 7,1000 hospital patients are infected with it on any given day. The number is between 6.5 and 20 times greater than previous estimates, according to the Association for Professionals In Infection Control and Epidemiology. Researchers from that group presented their findings Tuesday at a medical conference in Orlando.

The study suggests that about 13 per 1,000 hospital patients have the germ.

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