How Do People Get Infected With the Clostridium Difficile Bacteria?


Quick Answer

The Clostridium difficile bacteria spreads when an infected person has a bowel movement, does not wash his hands, and touches a surface or another person, explains Drugs.com. The bacteria may be on surfaces such as the tops of tables. It spreads rapidly in hospital settings.

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Full Answer

Patients who have Clostridium difficile usually shed spores in their stool, explains Harvard Health Publications. If they do not take the necessary hygiene precautions, they may transfer these spores to their hands, utensils, surfaces and food. The spores can survive outside the body for months unless the area where they exist is thoroughly cleaned, explains OpenBiome. Another person may swallow the spores, which come to life in his GI tract.

If the second person is healthy, the Clostridium difficile does not harm him, as other normal bacteria in his gut keep it in check, states Harvard Health Publications. However, if he has been taking antibiotics, the Clostridium difficile spores find the perfect environment to grow and multiply.

Clostridium difficile spreads in hospitals, especially among patients who are on antibiotics, according to Drugs.com. Antibiotics that are associated with the growth of Clostridium difficile include penicillin and fluoroquinolones, lists Mayo Clinic. Other people who are at risk of getting this disease include patients who have a weak immune system and older patients, states WebMD.

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