C. difficile is a bacteria found in soil and other natural environments. It can also live in your gut or bowel along with many other kinds of bacteria. C. difficile is one of the most common infections found in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Antibiotics used to treat infections kill many of the good bowel bacteria and allow C. Difficile to grow causing irritation of the bowel and diarrhea. This can happen with antibiotics taken at home or while staying in the hospital. Symptoms can include watery diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain or tenderness. Blood may or may not be present in the stool.
Treatment depends on the severity of the illness. People with mild symptoms may not need treatment. For more severe disease, the doctor will order antibiotics.
Clostridium difficile spores persist for a long time in the environment. Transmission due to contaminated environmental sources and poor hand hygiene practices contribute to its spread within health care institutions. As a safety measure, staff will provide care using special precautions to prevent spread of the infection to other patients. The patient will be moved to a new room and their activities outside their room will be restricted. Health care providers entering the affected patient’s room may wear a gown and gloves. Everyone must clean their hands when they enter and exit the room, including the patient and their visitors. Special cleaning and disinfection of the environment must be strictly followed.