A C.diff Infection occurs when the c.diff micro-organism grows out of control in the gastronintestinal tract (GI).
Ordinarily this kind of micro-organism is harmless and actually helps in the digestion of food and nutrients. As such, we all have micro-organisms have them in our bodies and c.diff can be present in around 3% of healthy adults.
But, a C.Diff Infection occurs when the c.diff micro-organism begins to grow out of control resulting in severe infectious diarrhea and inflammation of the large intestine. This can happen to hospitalised people and the presence of c.diff in hospitalised adults is ten times higher (up to 30%) than in ordinarily healthy adults.
A C.Diff Infection is by far the most common cause of diarrhea found in hospital patients.
Why Patients Are Susceptible To A C.Diff Infection
Basically, a C.Diff Infection occurs when a bodies preventative bacteria is not strong enough to stop the c.diff from outgrowing the GI tract. This happens for a number of reasons:
A long stay in hospital. The potential for c.diff spreading in a clinical environment is very high and combined with the stress a patient will be under and the illness weakened body a hospital patient is a prime candidate for C.Diff Infection.
Age. C.diff is an infectious disease and as in all diseases of this type the elderly are much more susceptible because their immune systems are weak, especially when hospitalised.
Illness. Any serious or constant illness will weaken the bodies immune system and increase the risk of a C.Diff Infection.
Antibiotics. A very real risk to a patient in a hospital environment can be posed by antibiotics. Because antibiotics can kill the bacteria which controls the growth of c.diff a patient becomes susceptible to a C.Diff Infection.
Why Does A C.Diff Infection Spread?
Unfortunately, a C.Diff Infection can spread very quickly and it is not easily killed by cleaning agents that most hospitals will use. C.diff forms spores which infected people can transfer by contact with each other and surfaces and those spores can live for up to five months.
It is because of the high degree of infection that c.diff poses such a threat to hospitals and the patients in their care.
How A C.Diff Infection Can Be Treated
The unfortunate truth about a C.diff Infection is that it is very hard to treat and treatment can last for several months. The evolvement of a new and more viral strain of c.diff which is resistant to treatment can be fatal and it is this strain of the disease which is proving so difficult for our hospitals to control.
Some antibiotics can be used in the treatment of a C.diff Infection including Flagyl. Flagyl is the most common treatment and is usually taken in tablet form and is a Metronidazole is used to treat bacterial or protozoal infections.
Vancomycin is a stronger drug than Flagyl and is used to try and combat the more serious strains of C.Diff Infection. Taken orally Vancomycin is a parenteral glycopeptide antibiotic and is a drug which has recently been improved during the manufacturing process to increase its purity and effectiveness against the stronger strains of c.diff.
Can A C.diff Infection Be Prevented
Surprisingly simply washing hands is the best way to prevent the spread of a C.diff Infection although the usual alcohol based hand cleansers are not effective in preventing the spread of c.diff.