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C. difficile strain 20 times more virulent

Canadian Medical Association
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  • Medicine


untitled ADVICE FOR PATIENTS Clostridium difficile: A Cause of Diarrhea in Children C lostridium difficile is a bacterium thatcauses inflammation of the part of theintestine called the colon. It issometimes called C diff for short. These bacteria are found in feces (bowel movement). A major risk factor for getting a C difficile infection is being on antibiotics. People can also become infected by C difficile if they touch an object such as a toy or a surface such as a counter that has feces on it and then touch their mouth or a mucous membrane such as the eye or nose. It is the most common cause of health care–associated diarrhea in the United States. While most health care–associated infections are caused by getting someone else’s infection, C difficile infection is most commonly caused by antibiotic treatment, which changes the bacteria in your intestines. SYMPTOMS OF C DIFFICILE INFECTION • Watery diarrhea, with at least 3 bowel movements a day for 2 or more days, which may contain blood v Fever v Loss of appetite v Nausea v Abdominal pain People with severe infection may develop serious inflammation of the colon and have little or no diarrhea. Complications of C difficile infection can include dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, low blood pressure, and more serious concerns such as bowel perforation, kidney failure, or even death. Research studies have suggested that C difficile infection–related hospi- talizations are highest among children aged 1 to 4 years. The major risk fac- tors for children to get C difficile infection are having recently taken antibi- otics or having been immunosuppressed such as with steroid medications or chemotherapy. Prevention of C difficile infection can be done by being very careful about washing hands before touching your child, especially if you or your child has recently been ill with diarrhea. Cleaning surfaces of counters and toys after your child has been ill is also a helpful strategy. It is also important to avoid unnecessary antibiot

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