Clostridium Difficile Infection or CDI Information

What is CDI?

Clostridium difficile [pronounced Klo-STRID-ee-um dif-uh-SEEL] infection (CDI) or C. Diff is a germ that can cause diarrhea. Most cases of CDI are in patients taking antibiotics.

CDI is defined as a case of diarrhea or toxic megacolon without other known etiology that meets 1 or more of the following criteria:

  • the stool sample yields a positive result of a laboratory assay for C. difficile toxin A and/or B, or a toxin-producing C. difficile organism is detected in the stool sample by culture or other means;
  • pseudomembranous colitis is seen on endoscopic examination or surgery; and
  • pseudomembranous colitis is seen on histopathological examination.

Symptoms of CDI are watery stools, fever, loss of appetite, nausea and belly pain.

C. difficile was estimated to cause almost half a million infections in 2011, and is associated with increased lengths of hospital stay, morbidity, and mortality among adult patients. Approximately 83,000 of the patients who developed C. difficile experienced at least one recurrence and 29,000 died within 30 days of the initial diagnosis. CDI may cause illness, death, increased hospital cost, and more days in the hospital.

CDI can be prevented by:

  1. Only take antibiotics as needed and as prescribed by your health care provider.
  2. Cleaning your own hands often, especially after using the bathroom and before eating

Make sure that all doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after caring for you.


Resources for CDI Prevention:

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