Antibiotic-associated colitis is an inflammation of the intestines that sometimes occurs following antibiotic treatment and is caused by toxins produced by the bacterium Clostridium difficile. It is determined as the incidence of antibiotic-associated colitis among users of oral antibiotics or topical clindamycin in a large prepaid health plan.
Antibiotic-associated colitis, also called antibiotic-associated enterocolitis, can occur following antibiotic treatment. The bacteria Clostridia difficile are normally found in the intestines of 5% of healthy adults, but people can also pick up the bacteria while they are in a hospital or nursing home. Those most at risk are people, especially older adults, who take antibiotics and also get medical care.
As the disease progresses, the patient may experience a general ill feeling, fatigue, abdominal pain, and fever. If the disease proceeds to pseudomembranous enterocolitis, the patient may also experience nausea, vomiting, large amounts of watery diarrhea, and a very high fever (104-105°F/40-40.5°C). Complications of antibiotic-associated colitis include severe dehydration, imbalances in blood minerals, low blood pressure.