Clostridium difficile (c.diff) Infection | Gastrointestinal Society

Clostridium difficile (c.diff) Infection | Gastrointestinal Society


This is an overview of infection with the
Clostridium difficile bacterium, commonly referred to as C. difficile, or simply C. diff. The human digestive tract is home to an estimated
500 to 1,000 different species of microorganisms, most of which are harmless, or even helpful,
and live in harmony. But if something upsets the balance of these bacteria, such as treatment with antibiotics or cancer chemotherapy, certain harmful organisms can multiply out of control and cause illness. Clostridium difficile infection, or CDI for
short, is an example of this. CDI is a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea
– which can sometimes be debilitating – and other intestinal symptoms, by inflaming the
colon, causing something known as colitis. When the gut’s beneficial bowel bacteria
are disrupted, the C. diff bacterium can multiply, producing toxins that damage the bowel and
cause intestinal symptoms. In very severe cases, C. diff infection can
even result in death. A person might harbour the C. diff bacteria
in their gut but do not become sick, because the beneficial bacteria in their intestine
keep it in check. However, there are a few risk factors that,
when present, might to varying degrees, increase the chance of contracting C. diff infection. These include:
being older than 65 years of age, taking antibiotics, especially over a
prolonged period of time, having a severe underlying illness,
being in an immune-compromised state, receiving chemotherapy to treat cancer,
taking proton pump inhibitors to reduce stomach acid,
having had a previous episode of CDI, having a prolonged hospital or care home stay, because there you have an increased risk of
being exposed to the bacterium. A recurrent case of CDI can be defined as a
return of symptoms, with lab confirmation of C. diff infection, after successful treatment
the first time. Most recurrences occur within 1-8 weeks. In other words, recurrence means experiencing
more than one episode even after the previous episode has been cured. This a major challenge, as recurrent CDI can
cause a large burden of disease to patients and society. Unfortunately, C. diff is a resourceful bacterium. It forms spores that are resistant to antibiotics
and to many alcohol-based cleaning agents, which allows the bacterium and its spores
to last on surfaces for months. Each episode of CDI increases the likelihood
of a subsequent episode. Many patients can experience multiple occurrences
over the course of their stay in a health care facility or have to return repeatedly
to a hospital for treatment because it recurs. Approximately 1 in 4 patients who experience
one episode of C. diff will have a recurrence. Of this group, about 45% will experience another
episode, and of those patients, 60% will experience further bouts of the infection. CDI is the most common cause of infectious
diarrhea in hospitals and long term care facilities. In fact, patients often develop the infection
after going to the hospital or other health care setting to receive treatment for another
ailment. This is because the C. diff bacterium and
its spores are found in high amounts in feces of infected people, who can then spread the
infection to surfaces, such as food or other objects, especially if they don’t wash their hands
properly after using the toilet, and if proper cleaning protocols are not in place in healthcare
facilities. A person might not have any symptoms and still
be able to spread C. diff bacteria. Others could become infected if they touch
these contaminated surfaces, then do not wash their hands thoroughly, and subsequently ingest
the bacteria or spores. Despite the efforts hospitals go through to
combat C. diff, many are still experiencing outbreaks. Some hospitals have incorporated novel technology
to help clean rooms, such as using ultraviolet lights that kill bacteria left after conventional
cleaning, while others have greatly enhanced infection control measures that include diligent
hand washing programs. However, effective treatment for C. diff remains
an important element in managing the challenges associated with these infections in the
hospital. The most important aspect of the infection
is the profound impact it has on a patient’s quality of life. In addition to the painful physical effects
and lifestyle consequences, C. diff might also have a significant emotional impact. It can be as uncomfortable to discuss as it
is to manage. The most commonly used treatments for C. diff
are antibiotics. Since C. diff is intrinsically resistant to many types
of antibiotics, which is why it survives when antibiotics kill other bacteria, researchers have been looking for more effective treatments. Studies looking at therapies to address the role of the immune system in treating or preventing C. diff infection are underway. One promising option, when other treatments fail, is fecal transplantation, which works by fixing the balance of microorganisms
in the gut, by introducing bacteria from a non-infected person’s gut. If you or someone you know is suffering from
Clostridium difficile infection, there are resources available to help ease the situation. Speak to your health care provider about available
treatments, including those that are newer, and address the issue of recurrence, so that you can find optimal care. I’m Dr. James Gray on behalf of the Gastrointestinal
Society. Thanks for watching.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

17 thoughts on “Clostridium difficile (c.diff) Infection | Gastrointestinal Society

  1. How likely is this to be passed to family members in a home setting if there is no incontinence and hand hygiene is very good? Does the entire house need to be decontaminated? How many months does this survive on surfaces? I have read everything from 70 days, to years

  2. I had norovirus and almost died, after having kidney surgeries over 3 months for kidney stones, came home on Christmas, Boxing Day readmitted because of c.diff, I'm 13, have a neurological condition like MS since I was 9 and am immune compromised , do you think I'll get it again?

  3. I like how funny that first guy is walking in and out of the hospital,like he's just from the toilet and is tired of it.

  4. very bad infection. i work at a nursing home. playing russian roulette with your life. you never know what the patients have when they're admitted.

  5. I was allmost declared dead when I got it 2 years ago and I beet they odds and I servied through it it took 7 days in hospital but I am good for now

  6. I got rid of my re-occurring c. diff. without antibiotics:
    Had c. diff after taking clindamycin.  I was in terrible pain, loss my appetite, weak, and using the bathroom 20x a day for 5 days and ended up going to the hospital.  It went into "remission" after taking vancomycin for 14 days.  My doctor told me not to worry about it coming back, but of course it certainly did about 12 days off Vancomycin.  I just couldn't bring myself to take anymore antibiotics, especially when it was antibiotics that helped get me into this nightmare.  So, this is what I did to get rid of my c. diff symptoms in believe it or not 48hrs.!

    1. I prayed (Believe it or not Jesus answers prayers)
    2. I bought activia probiotic yogurt and had 1 a day
    3. drank about a quarter cup mixture of garlic, ginger, and honey 3x a day
    4. drank 116oz bottle of water with 1 1/2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar 1 x a day
    5. Ate flour porridge with a teaspoon of honey once for breakfast and once for dinner for 3-4 days
    6. Took one probiotic vitamin a day.

    After doing this for 2 days, (I kid you not) the diarrhea was gone, the cramping was gone, and the overall ill feeling was gone (thank you Lord Jesus)!  The only thing was that my stomach was very bubbly, but that cleared up too within about 4 days.  I was shocked to see just how fast it went away.  Even though all the symptoms went away I still continued everything (except the probiotic pill and the porridge) and decided to continue for at least 2 more weeks and then cut back for 3 x  a day to 2 than to 1x  and just make the 1x an addition to my daily routine.  I suggest always checking with your doctor, but this is what worked for me without having to put more antibiotics in my body.  I hope this is helpful to someone!

  7. What is the best product or brand to treat your bacterial vaginosis issue naturally ? I read plenty of great opinions on the internet about how exactly Womezon Remedy can help you fix your bacterial vaginosis issue naturally . Has anyone tested out this bacterial vaginosis remedy?

  8. I work at a hospital, the infection clinic to be exact, and we have a lot of patients with C. Diff from having atibiotics during a long period of time. If you, or someone you know have this here's a few tips: Always be careful with hygine, wash your hands with soap and water properly and use hand sanitizer, after you've visit the bathroom of before preppin food/eating. When using the toilet always close the toilet lid when flushing to keep the amount of spores down.
    Alcohol and normal cleaning products will not kill the spores but bleach will. We alwsys clean our rooms (C. Diff rooms) with 1. Normal all-around cleaning products. 2. Bleach. 3. Alcohol. And a patient with C.Diff is never aloud to go outside their room, visning the day room or visiting the patinent kitchen. They're also in a 1 person room and are not aloud to share room. Thank you for the video!

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