C. diff on the rise

By: May 22nd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

There is clear evidence that Clostridium difficile (C.difficile), a difficult-to-control and treat bacterial infection, is increasing, especially in non-hospital settings, according to Mayo clinic researchers.

“We have seen C.difficile infection as a cause for diarrhea in humans for more than 30 years, and the incidence of infections has been increasing in the last decade,” said Sahil Khanna, M.B.B.S., Mayo Clinic Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and lead author of the study, which was presented during Digestive Disease Week meeting in San Diego, May 19-22.

Khanna explained that the typical profile of a patient with C. Difficile was “an older patient, taking antibiotics, while in the hospital.” But now, “we have described a significantly increased incidence of C. difficile in children with diarrhea in a population-based cohort. Importantly, we also found that more than three-quarters of cases of C. difficile in children are being contracted in the community, not in the hospital,” she said.

The study found that the incidence of C.difficile infection (CDI) in children between 2004 and 2009 was more than 12 higher than between 1991–1997. Also, 75 percent of those cases were community-acquired C. difficile, which means that the patient had not been in a hospital for at least four weeks prior to contracting the infection.

C. difficile can be contracted from contaminated surfaces and spread from person to person.

Mayo clinic researchers recommend preventive measures such as:

  • Washing hands with soap and water
  • Cleaning suspected contaminated surfaces with bleach-based solutions
  • Avoiding contact with people who are known to have CDI
  • Taking extra hygiene precautions if you are living with a person who has CDI or who works in a healthcare setting where a person might be exposed to patients with CDI

According to the CDC, there are approximately 337,000 cases of CDI reported each year, which cause 14,000 deaths.


By Lai-Chee Lee on May 22nd, 2012 at 7:47 pm

If a patient with symptomatic Clostridium difficile infection had gone for colonoscopy, should the scope be sterilized since high level disinfection will not eradicate most bacterial spores?


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