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Deadly stomach infection rising in community settings, Mayo Clinic study finds
Date:10/26/2009

ROCHESTER, Minn. Mayo Clinic researchers have found that a sometimes deadly stomach bug, Clostridium difficile, (http://www.mayoclinic.org/c-difficile/) is on the rise in outpatient settings. Clostridium difficile is a serious bacteria that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. These findings were presented today at the 2009 American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Clostridium difficile, often called C. difficile or "C. diff", is a bacterium that is resistant to some antibiotics and is most often contracted by the elderly in hospitals and nursing homes.

"Recent reports have shown increasing incidence and severity of C. difficile infection especially in the older population," says Darrell Pardi, M.D., Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and senior author on the study. "Our study examines why the cases are on the rise and who is getting the infection."

In this population-based study, researchers studied 385 cases of C. difficile bacterial infection from 1991-2005 to determine how many cases were hospital-acquired versus community-acquired infections. Of the cases, 192 were hospital-acquired and 35 were residents of nursing homes. Of these hospital-acquired cases, the median age of infection was 72 years; in contrast, 158 cases were community-acquired and the median age was 50 years. Thirty-five percent of the hospital infections had a severe illness compared to 22 percent of community infections who had a severe illness.

The patients with community-acquired infection were also less likely than the hospital-acquired group to have been exposed to antibiotics before their infection. Thus, many of the community-acquired infections lacked the traditional risk factors for infection, namely recent hospitalization and exposure to antibiotics.


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Contact: Amy Tieder
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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