Drug-resistant infections involving Clostridium difficile are on the rise in Europe, according to a study conducted at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

The Europe-wide study results showed that C. difficile infections rose from 2.45 per 10,000 patient days in 2005 to 4.1 per 10,000 patient days in 2008.

Infection rates were highest in Finland, Poland and the UK, which recorded of 19.1, 12.5 and 10.4 cases per 10,000 patient days respectively.

France and Hungary had the lowest rates, with 2.1 and 2.0 cases per 10,000 patient days respectively.

The researchers followed the infected patients for a period of three months; in this time 22% of the patients died, with C. difficile playing a role in 40% of the deaths.

Ed Kuijper, lead author of the study, said that C. difficile is the most important hospital-acquired infection in Europe, as the study results reveal that it associated with a high mortality rate.

“There should be European-wide guidelines for hospitals to monitor this disease more carefully using uniform standards,” Kuijper said.