Author(s): Wilcox MH
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Abstract Clostridium difficile causes a spectrum of diseases ranging from diarrhoea to pseudomembranous colitis, primarily in the hospitalized elderly, although community-acquired infection is probably under-documented. Host factors are increasingly recognized as critical determinants of disease expression. Exposure to antibiotics, particularly those adversely affecting anaerobic gut flora, appears to create a niche which is exploited by C. difficile. Several retrospective and intervention studies have indicated that third-generation cephalosporins have a high propensity to induce C. difficile diarrhoea. Conversely, some broad-spectrum antibiotics, including ureidopenicillins (e.g. piperacillin-tazobactam) and ciprofloxacin, are less likely to induce C. difficile infection. Effective control of C. difficile in the hospital requires both antibiotic control and prevention of environmental seeding and bacterial spread. Epidemic C. difficile strains are widely distributed in the hospital environment, both as a cause and result of nosocomial diarrhoea. Current treatment options are antibiotic-based, which is less than ideal. Although many biotherapeutic approaches have been tried few have shown real benefit.
This article was published in Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol
and referenced in Journal of Medical Microbiology & Diagnosis