Bookmark and Share

Biology and Genetics Issues
Clostridium Difficile infection

Clostridium difficile (CD) bacteria are the most common cause of diarrhea among hospitalized patients. These bacteria are naturally found in the bowel of humans and animals and is excreted in their feces in a form called "spores" which protect them from destruction by chemical substances. In their natural habitat, the bowels, the bacteria cannot grow because of their low numbers compared to the good bacteria which compete with CD for the available food. However, when these good bacteria are killed by antibiotics, CD start to flourish, produce their toxins and cause diarrhea. People at risk include the elderly, hospitalized, and immune-compromised persons and those on long-term or multiple treatment with antibiotics. CD enter the body when hands contaminated with CD spores come in contact with the mouth, food or drink. These bacteria might cause serious damage to the colon, requiring its removal, or leading to death in the more complicated cases.

CD infections are widespread in Canada, US, and other developed countries. In Canada, the infection rate is about 3.5 per 1000 adult patients. Financially, in the US, the yearly cost of management of CD infected cases (including hospitalization, diagnosis and treatment) is $6.3 billion. Hand hygiene and appropriate antibiotics prescribing practices are very effective ways to minimize disease transmission.

Get Full Summary

Contributor: Louay Al Shamma

Last reviewed: November 6, 2017


Home             Links              Sitemap               Contact Us
© McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment