Clostridium Difficile (C. difficile, C. diff) (cont.)
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C. diff Follow-up
Follow-up with a doctor after the completion of therapy for C. diff is strongly recommended. It is not necessary to repeat stool tests after the completion of therapy unless the symptoms persist (unresponsive to treatment) or recur after initial resolution (relapse).
Relapse and recurrent infections are not uncommon and are present in more than 20% of individuals who have C. diff infection. Therefore, if symptoms suggestive of C. difficile colitis recur at any time after the initial episode, prompt follow up with the physician is important.
How to Prevent C. diff
Because individuals with C. difficile colitis are infectious, it is important to eliminate the spread of infection to others. This is best done by careful hand washing by both the infected person and others who come into contact with the individual. Washing hands with soap and water is the recommended approach. The use of alcohol-based disinfecting agents is not recommended since they are as not effective against C. diff spores.
Besides hand washing by everyone in contact with the patient, thorough cleaning of the environment is an important aspect of the prevention of the spread of C. difficile. Hypochlorite based solutions are more effective than other solutions in eliminating C. difficile.
In health care facilities, patients with C. diff infection are usually placed in isolation in order to prevent transmission to other patients. The isolation is discontinued after stool tests show no further evidence of infection (no toxins), or if the patient is doing well enough to return home. Isolation at home is usually neither necessary nor practical.
C. diff Prognosis
C. difficile colitis, or antibiotic-related colitis, generally has a favorable outcome as long as this condition is recognized early and prompt treatment is initiated.
Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/2/2016
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