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RI Hospital researchers identify components in C. diff that may lead to better treatment
Date:1/30/2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Rhode Island Hospital researchers have identified components in Clostridium difficile (C. diff) that may lead to new diagnostic tools, and ultimately more timely and effective treatment for this often fatal infection. C. diff is a spore-forming bacterium that causes severe diarrhea and is responsible for 14,000 deaths annually in the U.S. The study is published online in advance of print in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.

In this study, researchers identified components of the C. diff bacteria that can be used to develop a rapid diagnostic test to determine if a patient with a diarrheal illness has C. diff infection and, if so, if the infection is due to a hypervirulent strain of this bacterium. Such a determination may lead to more rapid initiation of appropriate antibiotics in infected patients with the hope of improving their outcome.

"C. difficle can be a life-threatening infection," said Leonard Mermel, D.O., medical director of the department of epidemiology and infection control at Rhode Island Hospital. "We believe that rapid identification of this bacterium will assist in timely initiation of antimicrobial therapy and admission to a setting where the patient is more appropriately observed based on his or her signs, symptoms and strain of bacteria causing the infection."

The technology revealed in this study can be integrated as a point-of-care device to help quickly detect and identify C. diff strains that pose significant health threats in hospitals and other health care settings.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most serious C. diff cases are in the elderly and individuals with certain medical problems. C. diff spores can live outside the human body and may be transferred to bed linens, bed rails, bathroom fixtures and medical equipment, and other areas in the infected person's environme
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Contact: Ellen Slingsby
eslingsby@lifespan.org
401-444-6421
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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