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What is C. difficile?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2024 | Hospital Negligence

Too often when patients check into a hospital, then end up catching some other disease or illness during their stay. Hospital-acquired infections happen often, and most are completely preventable. One of the most alarming infections is C. difficile, which the Mayo Clinic explains is a bacterial infection.

C. difficile is often a mild infection, but if you are older or have problems with your general health, it can be quite severe. The concerning issue with this infection is that it should never transmit from person to person if people use proper hygiene habits. If you contract it during a hospital stay, then it is typically a result of bad hygiene and cleaning practices by hospital staff.


C. difficile transfers through human feces. If a healthcare worker comes in contact with infected feces and fails to properly wash his or her hands, he or she can easily spread the bacteria around, causing infections in vulnerable patients.

Often symptoms occur due to recent antibiotic use. Many people carry this bacterium in their intestine, but it does not become active until they take antibiotics. The antibiotics kill the helpful bacteria in the body, which allows the existing C. difficile to become more active and cause infection.


If you have C. difficile, the main symptoms are intestinal since the bacteria lives in the intestine. You may have diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever and nausea. If the infection becomes severe, you could have kidney failure, dehydration and a rapid heart rate. It is possible for a severe case of C. difficile to lead to death, especially in older individuals or those with weak immune systems.