Turner, Nicholas A. Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.
Last reviewed:August 2021
- Colonization and disease
- Role of antibiotics and the gut microbiota
- Epidemiology and spread
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A Gram-positive, anaerobic, spore-forming bacterium that causes a severe form of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Clostridioides difficile (formerly Clostridium difficile and often abbreviated as C. diff) [Fig. 1] is a rod-shaped bacterium (bacillus) responsible for a potentially life-threatening type of antibiotic-associated diarrhea known as C. difficile–associated colitis (colon inflammation). The role of C. difficile in human disease was discovered in the 1970s when case reports emerged of a severe diarrheal illness following receipt of the antibiotic clindamycin. Victims often had fever, cramping abdominal pain, markedly elevated white blood cell counts, and frequent loose stools that were sometimes bloody. Autopsy or colonoscopic findings were notable for severe inflammation of the colon characterized by yellow-white plaques; the condition was termed pseudomembranous colitis. Subsequently, John G. Bartlett and colleagues confirmed C. difficile as the causative pathogen largely through the use of antibiotic-treated hamsters as model hosts. See also: Antibiotic; Bacteria; Clostridium; Colon; Diarrhea; Gastrointestinal tract disorders; Medical bacteriology; Pathogen
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 46 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information