Clostridium difficile is an anaerobic bacterium, widely distributed in soil and intestinal tracts of animals. The clinical spectrum of C. difficile infection (CDI) ranges from mild diarrhoea to severe life threatening pseudomembranous colitis.
The disease is not always associated with previous antibiotic use. There is an increase of reports of community-acquired CDI in individuals previously not recognized as predisposed. CDI is also recognised increasingly in a variety of animal species. The transmission of C. difficile can be patient-to-patient, via contaminated hands of healthcare workers or by environmental contamination.
The impact of CDI on modern healthcare is significant. In terms of costs, this translates into €5.000-15.000 per case in England and $1.1 billion per year in the USA. Assuming the population of European Union to be 457 million, CDI can be estimated to potentially cost the Union €3.000 million per annum. It is expected to almost double over the next four decades. Read more about Clostridium difficile infection