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Researchers create a "mouse hospital" to study spread of C. difficile

Talk about mouse models - "A team of scientists have successfully mirrored the infection cycle of C. difficile by generating a 'mouse hospital' with conditions mimicking the human environment in which C. difficile is transmitted."

"C. difficile is a highly resistant and highly infectious pathogen and resistant to many front line antibiotics," explains Dr Trevor Lawley, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute researcher and lead author on the study. "Until now, animal studies have focussed on the observable, acute symptoms of C. difficile. But, to understand how this highly infectious pathogen spreads, investigating the entire cycle of transmission is absolutely vital. We looked at mice carrying C. difficile and observed that they shed low levels of spores and, crucially, they did not infect other mice."

"But when we treated mice with antibiotics, we saw a dramatic rise in the levels of spores shed - leading to what we have described as a 'supershedder state' and transmission of C. difficile among mice. Importantly, transmission occurs even in the absence of clinical symptoms."
 
 

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