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People should learn more about C. difficile

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Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 12:00 am

In loving memory of my beloved mother, I would like to inform people of the dangers of the deadly bacteria Clostridium difficile ("C. diff."). Like anthrax and botulism, C. diff. generates spores when we attempt to sterilize, and the spores are highly contagious. Without knowledge, we could ingest and carry C. diff. in a dormant state, in the gut, without symptoms.

Our intestines carry friendly bacteria which naturally protect us from C. diff., unless we take antibiotics, which kill the friendly bacteria. If we take antibiotics, C. diff. can develop suddenly into a life-threatening emergency. Primarily in infants and the elderly, whose immune systems are less responsive, the mortality rate is very high. Due to toxic effects, a cascade of multiple organ failures and loss of blood pressure can result in death.

According to Wikipedia, people can "accidentally ingest spores of the bacteria while they are patients in a hospital, nursing home or similar facility." I will also add that a visitor can accidentally ingest the spores. Accordingly, if a patient is transferred from a nursing home into the hospital, visitation might be restricted under quarantine.

Daniel Hutchins

Acampo

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