What Is the Incubation Period for C. Difficile?

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The median incubation period of Clostridium difficile, commonly known as C. difficile, is three days, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. C. difficile is a bacterium that causes colitis, or inflammation of the colon.

The elderly and chronic users of antibiotics are at heightened risk for contracting C. difficile, which often spreads to health care workers who touch feces or items contaminated with fecal matter from an infected person, notes the CDC. Symptoms of C. difficile infection include watery diarrhea for two or more days, nausea, fever, loss of appetite and tenderness or pain in the abdominal area.

Because Clostridium difficile lives on dry surfaces for long periods of time, hospitals and other health care facilities treating patients with this infection use extreme caution to ensure it does not spread to others, WebMD explains.