Medical Alert: Clostridium Difficile

Data from over 600 health care facilities across the country showed that the prevalence of a disease called Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is on the rise, according to a study to be released tomorrow by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. The disease, which affects the colon, is resistant to common medications, and is said to pose a threat to patients in all types of health care facilities.

What is Clostridium difficile? The Centers for Disease Control answers frequently asked questions about C. difficile, such as symptoms of the disease and treatment options.

Identifying the Risk Factors. The Mayo Clinic outlines those who are at risk of contracting the disease. Those who are 65 years or older, have recently been hospitalized or recently taken antibiotics, among others, are at risk. They also explain when to seek medical advice.

In July 2005, the Centers for Disease Control addressed the increased rates of the C. difficile disease around the nation and announced the identification of a new strain of the disease.

Prevention Tools. According to the Mayo Clinic, the best way to stop C. difficile infections is to reserve use of antibiotics for necessary infections. There are also steps that hospital staffs can take, such as wearing gloves and making sure surfaces are sanitary.

Learn how diagnosis occurred for patients in MedicineNet.com's patient discussion board, where people share the kinds of treatments that have worked best in their cases.

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