Research reveals C. diff is more common in community than previously realized

Frequently, when people hear about Clostridium difficile, they think of hospitals or other healthcare settings. New research, however, suggests the bacterium may be more common in the general community than previously realized, according to a Popular Science report.

A group of Chinese researchers collected fecal samples from 3,699 healthy Chinese individuals over the course of one year, from September 2013 to September 2014. To ensure the statistics included solely those with no medical issues, the researchers excluded anyone exhibiting symptoms of diarrhea or gastrointestinal infection or individuals who might have been on antibiotics.

Ultimately, they discovered the bacterium was quite prevalent in the community, especially in children. The highest C. diff rate was observed in infants with roughly one-quarter of those under one year old carrying the bacterium. Among children, the average rate was 13.6 percent, and among healthy adults, the average rate was 5.5 percent.

In addition to being prevalent, the toxicity levels of the C. diff isolates was concerning — nearly 20 percent of the samples had toxin-forming genes. In children and adults, that number is closer to 65 percent.

The results of the study suggest healthy individuals may be able to carry C. diff without an actual infection, posing an increased risk to anyone who might be susceptible, according to the report.



More articles on C. diff:
C. diff transmission in hospitalized patients, asymptomatic carriers and community sources
University of Michigan announces $9.2M C. diff prevention effort
2 New Jersey hospitals unite against C. diff

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