Clostridium difficile: symptoms and treatment

Clostridium difficile: symptoms and treatment


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THE Clostridium difficile, also known by the acronym CD, is an anaerobic Gram-positive bacillus type bacterium. It represents the main cause of infectious diarrhea in adults and is responsible for about 20% of diarrhea that occurs when antibiotics are used. It is harmless in people who do not have diseases.

  • Definition of Clostridium difficile

  • Symptoms of Clostridium difficile

  • People at risk

  • Contagion by Clostridium difficile

  • Diagnosis of Clostridium difficile

  • How to avoid Clostridium difficile

  • Treatment of Clostridium difficile

Definition of Clostridium difficile

THE Clostridium difficile is a bacterium that is found in most people and is part of the intestinal flora. When an antibiotic is ingested, it causes the disturbance of this flora and, thus, the CD finds favorable ground for its development in some people. A virulent strain of Clostridium difficile it is the origin of many epidemics in several countries.

Symptoms of Clostridium difficile

THE Clostridium difficile causes diarrhea, usually accompanied by fever and abdominal pain. Blood can also be seen in the stool and, rarely, dehydration of the patient, in addition to inflammation of the colon, called colitis.

People at risk

Immunocompromised people over the age of 65 who recover in the hospital or are debilitated are easily infected with this bacterium. The ingestion of some antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, clindamycin and cephalosporin favors infection and the consequent multiplication of these intestinal bacteria.

Contagion by Clostridium difficile

Contamination arises from hand contact with people infected with diarrhea related to Clostridium difficile, as well as by touching objects contaminated by the bacteria.

Diagnosis of Clostridium difficile

The diagnosis is confirmed by examining the stool, which shows the presence of Clostridium difficile.

How to avoid Clostridium difficile

People infected with Clostridium difficile must be isolated so as not to spread the bacteria to other people. Wearing gloves and long-sleeved shirts is ideal to avoid contagion. The environment must be disinfected with suitable products and the measures must be respected for at least 72 hours after the onset of diarrhea. The hand hygiene of the patient and everyone in contact with him must be strict and, mainly, done only in the bathroom. It is also recommended to apply alcohol to your hands.

Treatment of Clostridium difficile

It is not necessary to administer medication in the mild manifestation of Clostridium difficile, as the symptoms disappear when the patient stops taking antibiotics, which generate this infection. In cases of more severe symptoms, other types of antibiotics may be prescribed after, based on the stool test, the toxin that caused the problem is identified.

Photo: © 9nong – Shutterstock.com

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