Health Facilities Report 15,000 Cases of Potentially Deadly Bacteria in '06

CLEVELAND (AP) - State health officials say Ohio hospitals and nursing homes last year reported more than 15-thousand cases of a bacterial illness that can be deadly.

Ohio is the first state requiring facilities to tell how many infections they've seen from the intestinal bacteria known as "C. diff." The numbers are reported in today's editions of The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, which says it obtained them through a public records request.

C. diff can cause severe diarrhea and colitis that can lead to death.

Ohio hospitals and nursing homes are required to make weekly reports to the state health department, and officials say the reporting showed that infection rates declined over the course of last year.