What is clostridium difficile infection?

What is clostridium difficile infection

What is clostridium difficile infection?

About clostridium difficile

Clostridium Difficile, also known as C. difficile, is a type of bacteria that forms an infection in the large intestine or colon.

What are the main causes of Clostridium difficile infection?

Environmental factors can cause Clostridium difficile. According to Neha Pathek from WebMD, this bacteria exists all around us. For example, Clostridium difficile can be found in our water, air and even our feces. They stay dormant unless they are activated by swallowing. Another cause of Clostridium difficile stems from an intake of antibiotic medication.

What are some ways you can be infected by Clostridium difficile?

  1. Clostridium difficile exists in our feces; thus it is easily transmissible through bedsheets or pieces of clothing that come in contact with feces which will then transfer the bacteria to our nose or mouth.
  2. Failure to wash hands after exposure to the bacteria from water or feces can also lead to development of Clostridium difficile.
  3. Biological diseases such as colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease or a weak immune system make for a likely candidate of Clostridium difficile.


What antibiotics lead to Clostridium difficile infections?

  • The antibiotics that are most often linked to a risk of C. diff infection are:
  • Fluoroquinolone
  • Cephalosporin
  • Penicillin
  • Clindamycin


Why is a Clostridium difficile infection so difficult to treat?

Clostridium difficile is difficult to treat because they are treated with strong antibiotics that can cause damage to internal organs such as the liver and intestines. Clostridium difficile can also reappear if the colon is populated with unhealthy bacteria from the previous infection.


How long does it take to get rid of C diff infection?

Patients suffering from Clostridium difficile usually recover within two weeks of starting the antibiotic treatment recommended by their doctors.


What are some symptoms of Clostridium difficile?

  • Clostridium difficile is a common infection that can have common side effects of other diseases. Some symptoms include:
  • Diarrhea
  • High body temperature
  • Stomach tenderness and pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Blood in stool

Immediately consult a doctor if these symptoms last longer than two days.



How do you prevent Clostridium difficile ?

Preventative measures include avoiding any unnecessary antibiotics, frequent hand-washing and thorough cleaning. Certain antibiotics can trigger the infection. They include Fidaxomicin, Metronidazole, and Vancomycin.

  1. Unnecessary antibiotics: Antibiotics should only be taken if a condition worsens over time and over-the-counter medication has not shown satisfactory results. Always consult a doctor about receiving short-term antibiotics which limit contact with healthy bacteria and aid in prevention of Clostridium difficile.
  2. Frequent hand washing: If there is a Clostridium difficile outbreak, it is important to wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds. Sanitizers are not effective against Clostridium difficile spores and frequent handwashing is recommended.
  3. Thorough cleaning: In any setting where Clostridium difficile is present, furniture and any material surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned with bleach specifically.


Clostridium difficile is a contagious infection that can pass from unhygienic environment. Some common places of Clostridium difficile are adult health care facilities, children’s hospitals childcare centers. Although it is not life threatening, patients are recommended to immediately seek medical attention after the first two days of experiencing symptoms, in order to avoid any complications to the internal organs.



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, November 13). Clostridioides difficile infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 16, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/hai/organisms/cdiff/cdiff_infect.html
  2. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, August 27). C. difficile infection. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved February 16, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/c-difficile/symptoms-causes/syc-20351691
  3. Recovery & support for clostridium difficile infections. Patient Care at NYU Langone Health. (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2022, from https://nyulangone.org/conditions/clostridium-difficile-infections-in-adults/support#:~:text=People%20with%20Clostridium%20difficile%20infections,two%20or%20three%20months%20later.
  4. WebMD. (n.d.). C. diff infection: Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, prevention. WebMD. Retrieved February 16, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/clostridium-difficile-colitis 

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