What is clostridium difficile?
Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a common bacterium that is found in the environment and occurs naturally in some people. Although people usually associate it with healthcare facilities, it actually doesn't originate in hospitals and can be part of the normal bacteria in the bowel and is one of the many bacteria that can be found in a bowel movement.
How does a C. difficile infection occur?
A C. difficile infection occurs when other good bacteria in the bowel are eliminated or decreased allowing the C. difficile bacteria to grow and produce toxin. The toxin produced can damage the bowel and cause diarrhea. C. difficile is one example of a hospital acquired infection and is one of the most common infections found in hospitals and health care facilities. C. difficile has been a known cause of health care associated diarrhea for about 30 years.