Partnership aims to halt bacterial infections in hospitals, clinics

Cdiff2-WEBCases of people stricken with Clostridium Difficile, a germ that causes fever, nausea and diarrhea, are on the rise in North Texas.

Because the illness most often occurs in people taking antibiotics, UNT Health Science Center and the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Foundation have launched a project to help halt infections where they seem likely to occur – hospitals, local and rural primary care clinics, and long-term care facilities.

Health Science Center personnel will test for the bacteria by collecting environmental samples from about 30 hospitals and health care clinics in North Texas. Samples will be collected from bed rails, bathroom fixtures and other surfaces.

In addition to the environmental study, the DFW Hospital Council Foundation will offer participating hospitals and clinics an education and awareness program that demonstrates how medical workers and the public can avoid infections, such as best cleaning practices.

Incidents of Clostridium Difficile, also known as C. diff, have increased in North Texas from 6.99 of 1,000 acute patient discharges in 2010 to 9.51 of 1,000 in 2014, according to the Foundation. Elderly people and those with certain medical conditions are most likely to get infected.

“C-Diff can cause debilitating illness in infected patients,” said Dr. Kimberly Fulda, DrPH, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine. “This collaboration will help determine how commonly the bacteria are found in health care settings and improve awareness of how we can prevent it.”

The work is funded by a $236,000 grant from the DFW Hospital Council Foundation.

The environmental samples are being collected by the North Texas Primary Care Practice-Based Research Network (NorTex) within the UNTHSC Texas Prevention Institute. Dr. Joon Lee, PhD, Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupation Health, and Dr. Jerry Simecka, PhD, Professor of Cell Biology and Immunology, are providing expertise and overseeing the collection and processing of the samples in this multidisciplinary project.

Bhatti Fc
SPH student experiences politics and policy firsthand through Capitol Hill internship

By Sally Crocker   The last few months have ushered in a whirlwind of change for UNTHSC School of Public Health student Megan Bhatti, who is interning this spring in Washington, D.C., for U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, representing the 12th District of Texas. Bhatti’s days are busy attending...Read more

Mar 22, 2018

Match Day
Match Day excitement grips TCOM medical students

By Jan Jarvis   The anticipation kept Vincent Wang awake all night. “It’s like Christmas,” the fourth-year medical student said. “You know you’re getting a present, but you don’t know what it is.” Wang was among 213 Texas of College of Osteopathic Medicine fourth-year ...Read more

Mar 20, 2018

Sara Bryd
Public health student to bike across Africa for medical, educational mission

By Sally Crocker   Sara Byrd is looking forward to UNT Health Science Center graduation day for two very big reasons. After crossing the stage in cap and gown at this spring’s commencement ceremonies, the School of Public Health MHA graduate will board a plane for Africa. There she w...Read more

Mar 19, 2018

TCOM Students
Student-led charity golf tournament reaches endowment goal

By Alex Branch   In 2012, medical students Sammy Lee Chong and Nicole Hocevar Howerton helped brainstorm ideas for students to work together for a good cause outside the classroom. They started Tee Off F.O.R.E. TCOM, a golf tournament that raised money for student scholarships at UNT H...Read more

Mar 16, 2018