Spread of Deadly Colon Infection Calls for University Doctors to Take a Closer Look

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 30,000 people die in the U.S. every year from Clostridium difficile (C. diff).

C. diff bacteria can cause intestinal infections damaging the colon or intestinal linings. This bacterium is typically found in hospitals and care facilities. However, C. diff has recently begun spreading outside of these confined areas.

"The gut microbes are really is an integral part of the digestive system," Dr. Alexander Khoruts, Department of Medicine, explains in an interview with MPR News. "It is a pretty complex ecosystem, which in these patients is just decimated by antibiotic usage. So, it just needs to be normalized."

Hospitals have been working to prevent the spread of C. diff through cleaning hard surfaces with bleach, promoting good hand washing hygiene, and limiting the overuse of antibiotics.

After visiting C. diff patients at home, Khoruts found the bacteria had spread throughout the entire home in the bathroom, carpet, bedding and furniture.

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