ISSN 2398-2950      

Clostridioides difficile

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Contributor(s):

Vetstream Ltd

Synonym(s): C. difficile, Clostridium difficile


Introduction

Classification

Taxonomy

  • Genus: Clostridioides.
  • Family: Peptostreptococcaceae.

Etymology

  • Latin: difficile- difficult; refers to the unusual difficulty encountered in its isolation and study.

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Clinical Effects

Epidemiology

Habitat

  • Isolated from diverse habitats, including:
    • Soil, hay, sand.
    • Intestines of cows, donkeys, horses, cats, dogs, rodents and human beings.
  • Part of normal intestinal flora.

Lifecycle

  • Reproduces and proliferates when intestinal conditions are favorable:
    • Following destruction of other normal flora by antibiotic therapy.
    • Bowel stasis.
    • Following intestinal surgery.
    • Unrelated to known risk factors.

Transmission

  • Infection may be endogenous or exogenous.

Pathological effects

  • In pseudomembranous colitis, overgrowth of the organism occurs following antibiotic therapy.
  • Diarrhea may occur, unrelated to antibiotics in dogs, pigs and foals.
  • The organism produces toxin A (an enterotoxin) and toxin B (a cytotoxin).

Other Host Effects

  • Part of the normal flora of the gastrointestinal tract.

Control

Control via animal

  • Supportive therapy and appropriate antimicrobial drugs.

Control via chemotherapies

  • Resistance to many commmon antimicrobials, including ampicillin Ampicillin, clindamycin Clindamycin and cephalosporins.
  • Cases of human pseudomembranous colitis have been successfuly treated using vancomycin or metronidazole Metronidazole.

Control via environment

  • Many infections endogenous, therefore environmental control not usually appropriate.

Vaccination

  • No vaccine available.

Diagnosis

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Riley T V, Adams J E, O'Neill G L et al (1991) Gastrointestinal carriage of Clostridium difficile in cats and dogs attending veterinary clinics. Epidemiol Infect 107 (3), 659-665 PubMed.
  • Borriello S P, Honour P, Turner T et al (1983) Household pets as a potential reservoir for Clostridium difficile infection. J Clin Pathol 36 (1), 84-87 PubMed.

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