In April to June, 10,866 C difficile infections were reported by acute trusts compared with 16,868 in the same period in 2007.
The number of infections in people over 65 years old (8,683), representing four fifths of cases, fell by 38% compared with the 2007 figure for this period (13,924), Health Protection Agency data show.
Mike Catchpoole, director of the Health Protection Agency, said that improved systems for monitoring infections had improved understanding of the burden of infection, and enabling trusts to manage and develop infection control procedures.
‘However,' he added, ‘this shouldn't lead to complacency around tackling the infections that are preventable and engaging in the battle to continually drive down rates of healthcare associated infections.'
Shadow Conservative health secretary Andrew Lansley, said there were still ‘an appalling number' of people catching hospital infections. ‘It's shameful evidence of Labour's failure that deaths from C difficile every year are now more than 8 times higher than they were when Labour came to power,' he said.
‘It shows Labour's utter complacency over such a serious issue that they're still pretending there's not a problem here.'
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