Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is a Gram-positive spore-forming bacteria that is best known for causing antibiotic-associated diarrhea. C. diff is a common component of the natural colonic flora, and it is thought to cause disease when competing bacteria in the gut have been wiped out by broad spectrum antibiotic treatment. The bacteria release toxins that can cause bloating and diarrhea, with abdominal pain. C. diff infection is a growing problem in healthcare facilities. Outbreaks occur when humans accidentally ingest spores in a medical facility. The infection kills 14,000 primarily elderly people a year in the US alone.