Clostridium difficile (klos-TRID-e-um dif-uh-SEEL), often called C. difficile or C. diff, is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.
Illness from C. difficile most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long-term care facilities and typically occurs after use of antibiotic medications. However, studies show increasing rates of C. difficile infection among people traditionally not considered high risk, such as younger and healthy individuals without a history of antibiotic use or exposure to health care facilities.
Each year in the United States, about a half million people get sick from C. difficile, and in recent years, C. difficile infections have become more frequent, severe and difficult to treat.
C. difficile infection care at Mayo Clinic
June 18, 2016
- Clostridium difficile-induced diarrhea. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious-diseases/anaerobic-bacteria/clostridium-difficile-–induced-diarrhea. Accessed Feb. 5, 2016.
- Longo DL, et al., eds. Clostridium difficile infection, including pseudomembranous colitis. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Feb. 5, 2016.
- Cammarota G, et al. Fecal microbiota transplantation for the treatment of Clostridium difficile infection: A systematic review. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 2014;48:693.
- Waltz P, et al. Novel therapies for severe Clostridium difficile colitis. Current Opinion in Critical Care. In press. Accessed Feb. 8, 2016.
- Malani PN, et al. Expanded evidence for frozen fecal microbiota transplantation for Clostridium difficile infection: A fresh take. JAMA. 2016;315:137.
- LaMont JT. Clostridium difficile in adults: Epidemiology, microbiology, and pathophysiology. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 8, 2016.
- Kelly CP, et al. Clostridium difficile in adults: Treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 8, 2016.
- Frequently asked questions about Clostridium difficile for healthcare providers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/cdiff/Cdiff_faqs_HCP.html. Accessed Feb. 8, 2016.
- LaMont JT. Clostridium difficile in adults: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 8, 2016.
- Surawicz CM, et al. Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Clostridium difficile infections. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2013;108:478.
- Davidson LE, et al. Clostridium difficile and probiotics. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 9, 2016.
- Khanna S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. Feb. 16, 2016.