Clostridium difficile (C-diff)

Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a bacteria that causes inflammation of the colon, known as colitis.

People who have other illnesses or conditions requiring prolonged use of antibiotics, and the elderly, are at greater risk of acquiring this disease. The bacteria are found in the feces. People can become infected if they touch items or surfaces that are contaminated with feces and then touch their mouth or mucous membranes. Individuals who are immunocompromised or have a weakened immune system (e.g. AIDS, cancer, transplant patients, congenital deficiencies), are at increased risk for infection. If you are immunocompromised, and are experiencing any symptoms, including the symptoms listed below, talk to your medical provider.

Symptoms:

Watery diarrhea (at least three bowel movements per day for two or more days)
Fever
Loss of appetite
Nausea
Abdominal pain/tenderness

Transmitted:

Clostridium difficile is shed in feces. Any surface, device, or material (e.g., toilets, bathing tubs) that becomes contaminated with feces may serve as a reservoir for the Clostridium difficile spores. Clostridium difficile spores are transferred to patients mainly via the hands of healthcare personnel who have touched a contaminated surface or item. Clostridium difficile can live for long periods on surfaces.

Treatment:

 C. difficile is treated with an antibiotic such as metronidazole, vancomycin, or fidaxomicin. Whenever possible, treatment should be given by mouth and continued for a minimum of 10 days.

If you have questions about C. difficile or symptoms you may be experiencing, call the health center Monday - Friday 8:00 - 5:00 pm or Saturday 10:00 - 2:00 pm. 

If you have questions after hours see Colorado Nurse Advice Line or call 800-283-3221 (sponsored by the Colorado Department of Public Health)

If you have a medical emergency call 911 or visit your local hospital emergency room.