Clostridium difficile

C. difficile is an anaerobic species of Gram-positive spore-forming bacteria that causes both diarrhea and complex intestinal illnesses.

In many cases, gastrointestinal symptoms arise due to the deterioration of natural microbial flora of the intestine from an antibiotic therapy and simultaneous contact with C. difficile spores.

Symptoms such as diarrhea, cramping/spasms, dehydration, fever, nausea and vomiting among others pertain to this illness. In advanced stages, blood in the diarrhea and severe intestinal infections arise.

The spores of C. difficile will be transmitted to the patient primarily from the hands of caregivers or personnel after they have had contact with the pathogen.

C. difficile bacteria will be excreted with feces and every subsequent contact with this can serve as a catalyst for a C. difficile illness.

C. difficile rarely causes these infections in healthy people, however, it is found to be more substantially prevalent threat for patients who undergo long-term antibiotic therapy and undertake gastrointestinal intervention or for immunosuppressed people. Furthermore, all people who work in the caregiver field and associated health professions are always at risk of being affected by the infection.

C. difficile bacteria have been determined to be the primary causes for hospital-related diarrhea infections in Europe and the USA. Currently, one assumes that in the USA 3 million people will annually be infected with the bacteria and the resulting increased costs for therapy amount to a total greater than USD 3 billion. (Source: CDC, ECDC)