04/29/2012 04:24 EDT | Updated 06/29/2012 05:12 EDT

Barrie hospital confirms 6 C. difficile cases in April

A Barrie, Ont., hospital is taking steps to reduce the risk of the spread of a bacterial illness that can cause diarrhea, discomfort and in extreme cases, death.

The Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre has had six hospital-acquired cases of Clostridium difficile disease during the month of April.

Deb Paton, the health centre's manager of infection prevention and control, confirmed in an email to CBC News that the hospital was disinfecting rooms, equipment and beds as a result of the confirmed cases.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website says C. difficile is a bacterium found in human feces.

Infection typically occurs when a person is on antibiotics that kill off good bacteria within the bowels, while allowing C. difficile to grow. When the bacterium grows, it produces a toxin that can cause bowel damage and diarrhea.

While most cases of C. difficile infection are mild, more serious cases can potentially be lethal.

The ministry says C. difficile is "the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitals or long-term care homes."