Clostridium Difficile (C. difficile, C. diff) (cont.)
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Clostridium Difficile (C. diff) Symptoms
The symptoms of C. difficile colitis range from mild to severe. Watery diarrhea is the main symptom regardless of the severity of the infection, although it may not be present in every patient.
Some patients are carriers of the organism and do not develop an active infection. Approximately 20% of hospitalized patients may be carriers according to some studies. In nursing homes, this number is as high as 50%. These individuals may shed the organism and cause environmental contamination.
Generally, mild C. diff infection (in addition to diarrhea) may result in:
The diarrhea may occur up to 10 to 15 times daily. More severe infections may cause severe and profuse diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, and high fever. Toxic megacolon, which indicates a massively enlarged and distended colon, is a manifestation of severe disease. Severe cases may also be associated with generalized infection (sepsis) resulting in instability of blood pressure and heart rate, as well as disruption of the functions of other body organs (septic shock).
It is not clear why different individuals have different reactions to C. difficile infections.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/22/2012
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