CRANBURY, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Clostridium difficile infections cause serious symptoms that range from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. Approximately 30,000 Americans die within one month of the infection being diagnosed, and new evidence reveals that emerging, more virulent strains (that are also more difficult to treat) are leading to higher mortality rates.
Hospitals and nursing homes are two settings in which Clostridium difficile infections notably transpire, mainly because of their high levels of bacteria exposure. However, the infection now is becoming more prevalent in communities, as well, and primary care physicians are increasingly concerned. The infection is especially harmful for patients who have medical conditions that have weakened their immune system, such as inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer, or who are undergoing serious treatments like chemotherapy.
In an effort to raise awareness about the risks of Clostridium difficile infection and to instruct the public and health care professionals on ways to prevent or manage the condition, MD Magazine® recently connected key opinion leaders in the field during the expert panel discussion, “Managing Clostridium Difficile Infections In the Community.” As scrutinized throughout this Peer Exchange®, evidence demonstrates increasing rates of the infection in populations of patients that have no common risk factors.
“What’s interesting about the community cases is that they’re occurring in a group of people that, heretofore, were not recognized to be at risk for this disease,” remarked Lawrence J. Brandt, MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center.
Throughout the 16-part series, available at http://www.mdmag.com/peer-exchange/clostridium-difficile-infections, Dr Brandt and colleagues consider Clostridium difficile infection risk factors and potential community sources and highlight top strategies in the diagnosis and management of the potentially chronic condition. They also provide insight on promoting antibiotic stewardship, including information on high-risk versus low-risk antibiotics. Among the educational points is an emphasis on the high rate of recurrence.
“Unfortunately, many people are not informed that this could come back, and lots of those people (where it does come back) end up in the hospital just because diarrhea came back and they didn’t know to call someone,” noted Erik Dubberke, MD, Washington University School of Medicine.
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