Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is a potentially life-threatening, spore-forming bacterium that causes intestinal disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 500,000 Americans are infected with C. diff,[ii] and at least 14,000 fatalities are attributed to C. diff each year.[iii] The risk of C. diff increases with age, antibiotic treatment and time spent in hospitals or nursing homes, where multiple cases can lead to outbreaks. A main source of C. diff is infected patients who release spores into the environment that can then infect other people. When antibiotics disrupt the gut’s normal flora and a person has ingested C. diff spores, the C. diff bacteria multiply and release potent toxins that can damage a person’s intestinal lining and cause C. diff disease.[iv]
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[ii] Rohlke F and Stollman N. Fecal microbiota transplantation in relapsing Clostridium difficile infection. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2012 November; 5(6): 403–420. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491681/#bibr37-1756283X12453637. Accessed May 30, 2013.
[iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Clostridium difficile Infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hai/organisms/cdiff/cdiff_infect.html. Last Updated March 1, 2013. Accessed May 30, 2013.
[ iv] Delmee M and Warny M. (1995). Clostridium difficile colitis: recent therapeutical and immunological considerations. Acta Gastroenterol Belg, 58 (3-4), p. 313-317.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 9:36:00 AM