Friday, 16 June 2017

Foods as a potential source of spread of Clostridium difficile


Foods should be investigated as a potential source of spread of Clostridium difficile, according to research presented at the 27th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID).

C. difficile causes gut infections and can be particularly dangerous for elderly patients. Because it is resistant to commonly used antibiotics it can emerge in patients who are already being treated in hospital for unrelated conditions.

The new research used DNA fingerprinting to examine which particular types of the bacteria were causing infections in patients and how widely they are distributed in Europe.

Some strains were found clustered within a particular country, suggesting they were possibly being passed around within hospitals -- a well-recognised route of transmission. However, because some other strains were found dispersed in several different countries, this adds weight to the idea that C. difficile could also be transmitted via our food.

The research was presented by Dr David Eyre, a clinical lecturer at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. He explained: "We know that C. difficile lives in the gut in a small proportion of healthy people, where it causes no symptoms. However, its resistance to antibiotics means it can grow uncontrollably in patients treated with the drugs, causing diarrhea that can be severe or even fatal. It is the most frequent cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitalised patients, and the increase in the use of antibiotics has allowed C. difficile to spread more effectively.

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle