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As per available reports about 9 relevant journals, 8 Conferences, 6 workshops are presently dedicated exclusively to Clostridium difficile and about 2,070 articles are being published on Clostridium difficile.
Clostridium difficile , also known as C. difficile , or C. diff, is a bacterium which infects and can make humans ill, as well as other animals. Symptoms can range from diarrhea to serious and potentially fatal inflammation of the colon. Elderly hospital patients, as well as those in long-term care facilities are most commonly affected by C. difficile - especially after or during the use of antibiotic drugs. C. difficile infection is gradually becoming more common, symptoms more severe and harder to treat. In North America, Europe, Australasia and many other parts of the world a significant number of people become ill from C. difficile - not only hospitalized patients taking antibiotics, but also otherwise healthy individuals. Patients with mild symptoms may improve if they stop taking antibiotics. Those with severe symptoms need different antibiotic medications and sometimes further therapy. C. difficile is present in the gut (intestinal tract) of approximately 3% of all adults and 66% of children. Healthy people are not usually affected by C. diff. However, some antibiotics may alter the balance of good bacteria in the gut, allowing C. diff to multiply and cause diarrhea, and possibly more serious illness.
The reason most cases of C. diff infection occur in healthcare environments is because of their link to antibiotic therapy - a significant number of hospitalized patients are on antibiotics. In industrialized countries approximately four-fifths of all C. diff cases occur in patients aged over 65 years. The majority of patients with C. difficile infection recover completely without any long-term consequences. A small percentage, unfortunately, do have complications and some of them die. In the UK there were 7% more cases of C. difficile infection in 2006 compared to 2005. Experts say that improvements in testing technology and methods are partly responsible for the apparent increase. However, there is concern that the numbers are rising regardless.
Causes of the 2002 and 2006 global C. difficile epidemic identified - researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute revealed there were two strains that developed resistance to fluoroquinolones, the frontline antibiotics that were used for C. difficile infection treatment until the early part of this millennium.
A symptom is something the patient feels and reports, while a sign is something other people, including a doctor or a nurse may detect. For example, pain may be a symptom while a rash may be a sign.
The following signs and symptoms can occur as a result of C. difficile infection:
• Watery diarrhea (mild to severe)
• Bloody or blood stained stools
• Elevated body temperature
• Tummy ache (mild abdominal cramps and tenderness)
The above-mentioned symptoms are generally caused by inflammation of the lining of the large intestine (colitis). Although rare, C. difficile can also cause:
• Peritonitis - infection of the lining of the abdomen
• Septicemia - blood poisoning
• Perforation of the colon
Signs and symptoms in more severe cases may include:
• Elevated body temperature
• Loss of appetite
• More severe abdominal cramping and pain
• Pus or blood in stool (feces)
• Watery diarrhea Watery diarrhea - the patient may go to the toilet ten or more times in a day.
• Weight loss
C. difficile infection can be fatal; however, this is very rare. The risk of a life-threatening condition is higher among very elderly patients, as well as individuals with existing serious health conditions. Most C. difficile infection symptoms occur in patients who are taking antibiotic medications. It is not unusual for symptoms to appear ten weeks after antibiotic therapy has stopped.
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Causes of the 2002 and 2006 global C. difficile epidemic identified - researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute revealed there were two strains that developed resistance to fluoroquinolones, the frontline antibiotics that were used for C. difficileinfection treatment until the early part of this millennium.
• American Society for Microbiology
• Society for Applied Microbiology- UK
• International Union of Microbiological Societies
• Society for General Microbiology Journals
• American Society for Microbiology Career Connections
• The Canadian Society of Microbiologists
• European Microbiological Society.
• Illinois Society of Microbiology
• British Society for Microbial Technology
• New Zealand Microbological Society
• Merck & Co.
• Johnson & Johnson
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This page was last updated on February 22, 2024