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Probiotic Drinks can Stave Off Hospital Infection

For the UK authorities harried by the super bug Clostridium difficile (C diff), good news at hand.

A probiotic drink can stave of the hospital infection, researchers say.

Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is a bacterium that is present naturally in the gut of around 3% of adults and 66% of children.

C. diff doesnt cause any problems in healthy people. However, some antibiotics that are used to treat other health conditions can interfere with the balance of good bacteria in the gut. When this happens, C. diff bacteria can multiply and cause symptoms such as diarrhoea and fever.

Because C. diff infections are usually caused by antibiotics, most cases usually happen in a healthcare environment such as a hospital or care home. Older people are most at risk from infection, with the majority of cases (80%) occurring in people over the age of 65.

The number of C. diff cases has risen from 22,000 a year in 2002 to almost 45,000 in 2004. One of the main reasons for this rise is the improvement in tests to diagnose the infection, but there has clearly been an increase in the number of cases.

C. diff infections can be prevented by good hygiene practices in healthcare environments. However, it is extremely contagious and is spread very easily.

Authorities assert that most people with a C. diff infection make a full recovery and fatalities are rare. But of late there has been reports of deaths resulting from hospital infections in UK and the working of the NHS has been harshly criticized.

It is in such a context the findings of Dr Mary Hickson, a research dietician at the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine in London gain significance.

Probiotics are dietary supplements containing potentially beneficial bacteria or yeast, with lactic acid bacteria (LAB) as the most common microbes used. LAB have been used in the food industry for many years, because they are able to convert sugar
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