The impact of C- difficile on today's nursing home patients. Clostridium difficlie ( C-Diff) is a bacterium that is related to the bacterium that causes tetanus and botulism. The C difficile bacterium has two forms, an active infectious form that that cannot survive in the environment for prolonged periods and a non active "non infectious" form called a spore, that can survive in the environment for prolonged periods. Although spores cannot cause infection directly, when they are ingested they transform into the active, infectious form. C-Difficile spores are found frequently in hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities, and nurseries for newborn infants. They can be found on bed pans, furniture, toilet seats, telephones, stethoscopes, fingernails, rings, floors, infant’s rooms, and diaper pails. They even can be carried by pets. Clostridium difficile colitis is the condition cause by the c-diff bacterium. It is an antibiotic associated colitis, an infection of the colon. It occurs primarily among individuals who have been using antibiotics. It is the most common infection acquired by patients while they are in the hospital. How does C-Difficile cause colitis? C-Diff spores lie dormant inside the colon until a person takes an antibiotic. The antibiotic disrupts the other bacteria that normally are living in the colon and preventing C-difficile from transforming into its active disease causing bacterial form. Not everybody infected with C Difficile develops colitis. Many infants and young children, and even some adults are carriers of C difficile, it doesn’t cause colitis in these people probably because the bacteria stay in the colon as non active spores, and the individuals have developed antibodies that protect them against C-difficile toxins.
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