Infection of the colon caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile in patients whose normal bowel flora has been disrupted by recent antibiotic use.
Patients usually present with diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and leukocytosis, and a history of recent antibiotic use. Other common symptoms include fever, abdominal tenderness, and distension.
Diagnostic standard is stool cytotoxin tissue culture assay. Most laboratories use stool enzyme immunoassay for toxins A and B. May be evidence of pseudomembranes on sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy in some patients.
Treatment is to discontinue the implicating antimicrobial agent and begin oral metronidazole, vancomycin, or fidaxomicin.
About 5% to 50% of treated patients have recurrence after discontinuation of therapy, but most respond to a second course of therapy.
Infection of the colon caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile . Characterised by inflammation of the colon and the formation of pseudomembranes. Occurs in patients whose normal bowel flora has been disrupted by recent antibiotic use. Also known as pseudomembranous colitis or CDAD.
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine
Alabama Infectious Diseases Center
AH declares that he has no competing interests.
Department of Epidemiology
Division of General Medicine and Epidemiology
UNC at Chapel Hill
JA declares that he has no competing interests.
Department of Gastroenterology
John Radcliffe Hospital
SK declares that he has no competing interests.
Clinical Reader and Consultant Gastroenterologist
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
IB declares that he has no competing interests.
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