Friday, 13 September 2019

Children might be naturally immunized after C. difficile colonization


Exposure to C. difficile in infancy produces an immune response that might protect against this gastrointestinal infection later in childhood.

Researchers found that infants who were naturally exposed to C. difficile in the environment and became colonized with the bacteria had antibodies in their blood. Analyses using a state-of-the-art assay revealed that these antibodies neutralized toxins that cause C. difficile infection, preventing harmful effects to cells exposed to these toxins. This suggests that a natural immunization occurs, although future studies will need to determine if it would prevent illness years later after another C. difficile exposure.

C. difficile is a frequent cause of community- and healthcare-associated infection in adults and children. While roughly half of all infants get exposed, they normally do not get sick from these bacteria. Older children and adults usually get diarrhea that needs to be treated by antibiotics. A more severe form of the infection may cause inflammation of the colon that requires surgery and could be fatal. Children tend to have milder symptoms than adults. The pediatric incidence of C. difficile infection peaks in the 1-to-4-year age group and during teenage years.

See:



Larry K Kociolek, Robyn O Espinosa, Dale N Gerding, Alan R Hauser, Egon A Ozer, Maria Budz, Aakash Balaji, Xinhua Chen, Robert R Tanz, Nazli Yalcinkaya, Margaret E Conner, Tor Savidge, Ciaran P Kelly. Natural Clostridioides difficile toxin immunization in colonized infants. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciz582

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology

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