Watch CBS News

Boston Hospital Testing Vaccine For Common 'C. Diff' Infection

BOSTON (CBS) - People seek hospital care to get better, but hospital infections are all too common. Efforts are now underway in Boston to stop one of the most dangerous types of hospital infections, 'C. Diff'.

Kevin McVeigh is feeling more than lucky these days, "I use a word a lot, I get emotional, it's called "blessed".

For more than a year, McVeigh was deathly ill. It wasn't the colorectal cancer, but the bacterial infection he picked up during his cancer surgery.

"It's like getting in a ring with an opponent. You can't see and it's kicking you from one side to the other side," says McVeigh.

McVeigh is one of the 500,000 U.S. patients every year to get C. Diff or clostridium difficile.

The potentially deadly infection is common in hospitals around the globe.

"Patients in the hospital tend to be more vulnerable to this infection," says Dr. Carolyn Alonso, an infectious disease specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

"Often times they are elderly with weakened immune systems, but patients of all ages can get infected."

Now, doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have hope things could soon change.

The Boston hospital is part of a world-wide vaccine trial aimed at stopping the spread before it starts. That means at-risk patients could get vaccinated at the start of their hospital stay.

Tens of thousands of patients in 200 countries are taking part in the study with one simple goal: no more nightmare stories like Kevin McVeigh's.

"It's going to be immense because this settles in, this god-awful disease, there is no way to treat it because it gets a foothold on you," says McVeigh.

The study should be complete in 3 years.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.