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Wrestling with Recurrent Infections - Clostridium difficile

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Clostridium difficile is evolving more robust toxicity, repeatedly attacking its victims, and driving the search for alternative therapies to fight the infection.

As infectious bacteria go, Clostridium difficile may be one of the most vexing for researchers, clinicians, and patients alike. It spreads from person to person by ingestion of the bacterium’s spores, which can not only remain viable for long periods of time outside of a human host, but can withstand most common disinfectants. Within the body, the spores can survive the acidity of the stomach, germinating in the intestines where the bacteria release toxins that wreak havoc on the bowel, causing severe abdominal pain and diarrhea. And while the proper regime of antibiotics usually eliminates the infection, residual spores can remain, and the bacteria can reemerge with a vengeance weeks or months later.

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