A British hospital is battling to control an outbreak of superbug C.difficile, which has claimed 13 lives, it was revealed today.

Eastbourne District General Hospital has closed its wards temporarily and opened an isolation unit to stop the bug spreading. Some patients have been diverted to neighbouring hospitals.

Of the 13 who died, three were killed as a direct consequence of the infection. These patients, who were aged 85, 89 and 91, died in February and March.

In ten other cases, C. diff was recorded as a contributing factor on the death certificates.

Sixty-two C. diff cases have been reported at the NHS hospital since the New Year – a rate of more than 20 a month.

The C.diff bug can strike when antibiotics alter the balance of good bacteria in the gut, causing severe diarrhoea and colitis.

By staff writer.