990-Clostridium Difficile 027

Course # DL-990: Clostridium Difficile 027: The Recent Emergence of a New Strain

by James I. Mangels, MA, CLS, MT (ASCP), F(AAM) - Microbiology Consulting Services - Santa Rosa, CA

Approved for 3.0 CE
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate


Clostridium difficile is an anaerobic, gram-positive, spore-forming bacillus. The species name “difficile” was given to the organism because it was initially difficult to isolate. Subsequently, improved media and improved anaerobic techniques have allowed C. difficile to be more easily isolated. Some strains of C. difficile can be non-toxigenic, non-virulent, and can be part of the normal intestinal flora in about 3% of the population. These patients are asymptomatic, but are carriers of the organism.

The toxigenic strains, however, produce a spectrum of gastrointestinal disease ranging from mild diarrhea through moderately severe disease characterized by watery diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, fever, hypotension, sepsis, and even fatal pseudomembranous colitis. Clostridium difficile is recognized as the primary cause of nosocomial (hospital-acquired infection or HAI), infectious diarrhea in the majority of healthcare facilities.


After completing this course the participant will be able to:

  1. Outline the history of C. difficile infection.
  2. Discuss the reemergence of C. difficile infection in the U.S.
  3. Explain the pathogenicity of the new toxogenic strain.
  4. Outline the clinical features of C. difficile infection.
  5. Explain how the organism or toxin is identified.
  6. State methods to prevent C. difficile infection.

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