Brief SummaryRead full entry
Especially common in hospitals and nursing homes, C. difficile infections have recently been on the rise and are three times as common in hospitals as they were in the last decade, with 336,000 cases reported in hospitalized patients in 2009. The CDC reported in 2007 that this bacteria causes 17,000 deaths per year; C. difficile infections are especially dangerous to the elderly. It is thought that a new, more drug-resistant and more virulent strain has evolved, exacerbating the incidence of infection. Attention to employing stricter hygiene measures in hospitals appears to help combat this stubborn bacteria, which tenaciously survive hand-washing and alcohol-based sanitation measures and require bleach to rid them from hospital surfaces. For patients who suffer from intractable infections, one solution is fecal transplants, to reinoculate the patient with the 25,000-30,000 bacteria that make up normal gut fauna, using feces from a healthy person.
The increased incidence of and threats posed by Clostridium difficile have been recently covered around the world in news reports and press releases by the New York Times, Oregon Public Broadcasting, CBC News, and the FDA.