Clostridium Difficile

by Sam Malone

Clostridium difficile, more commonly known as C. difficile, is a type of bacteria that is related to the tetanus and bolutism causing bacteria. There are two forms of the clostridium difficile bacteria. The first form is an active and infectious one, which does not have the ability to survive for a long time, in the environment. The other form is more commonly known as a clostridium difficile spore, which is non-active and non-infectious. Clostridium difficile spores can live in dirt, or even in the open air, for about two years or so. Even though clostridium difficile spores do not cause an infection directly, they could become active, when ingested. A clostridium difficile infection could lead to certain clostridium difficile symptoms, which could range from diarrhea to an inflammation of the colon, which is a life-threatening condition.


Clostridium difficile bacteria are present all over the environment, which includes the soil, water, air and also feces. However, a large number of people, especially in hospitals carry the bacteria in their intestines. Due to lack of strict hygienic measures, the bacteria can easily spread from one person to the other. It is quite likely for the illness to develop or intensify, during or soon after a person undergoes a course of clostridium difficile antibiotics. This is because there are millions of bacteria that live in the human intestines. These bacteria are not necessarily harmful for the body; in fact, they can also protect the body from various infections. Clostridium difficile antibiotics kill not only the clostridium difficile bacteria, but also the other helpful bacteria in the body. Due to the lack of healthy bacteria, the clostridium difficile bacteria could grow out of control, leading to a severe infection.


There have been many cases, where people are infected by the clostridium difficile bacteria, but do not appear to be sick. However, they can still pass the infection on. Some of the most common clostridium difficile symptoms for milder cases are watery diarrhea (three times a day or more), tenderness in the abdomen and mild abdominal cramping. However, in severe cases, the clostridium difficile symptoms could include:

  • Watery diarrhea, with a frequency of 10 to 15 times a day
  • Weight loss
  • Loss in appetite
  • Severe abdominal cramping and pain
  • Dehydration
  • Traces of pus or blood in the stool
  • nausea
  • Fever
If any of the symptoms mentioned above can be observed in a person, it is important to consult a doctor, without any delay, for a proper clostridium difficile diagnosis and subsequent treatment. 
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