Clostridium difficile

Sauyer Lay


Clostridium Difficile is an intestinal anaerobic bacterium that is the leading cause of antibiotic-associated inflammation of the colon as well as the leading cause of nosocomial diarrhea. Its severity ranges from mild to severe infection and the symptoms correspond with the severity of infection. A survey was recently done by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology that estimated 13 in 1,000 in-patients are diagnosed with C. Diff and approximately 109,000 patients die per year. Over the last ten years, more virulent strains of the bacteria have emerged. The incidence of infection with these virulent strains has also increased tremendously, almost always happening during a hospital stay. These virulent strains lead to severe diarrhea, dehydration, and sometimes death, especially in the elderly. C. Diff infection is a serious health concern worldwide, but for the purpose of this discussion we will focus primarily on the American hospital setting and how polymerase chain reaction testing reduces isolation time and improved patient management.

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