Health Notes 健康資訊

C. diff, a serial killer in the world

The antibiotic resistance-related bacteria fight back
— only take the antibiotics with prescriptions!

There is a strong bacterium that can kill millions of patients worldwide. It is normal to find them in our digestive tract microbiome and it does no harm when we have a healthy belly. It is named Clostridioides difficile (or Clostridium difficile in the past; or C. diff in short.). C. diff loves an anoxic environment, where the colon is one of the best living places. However, it is commonly found in the environment as well. When there are not enough good bacteria in your digestive tract microbiome, you will suffer from its toxins as it becomes a dominant bacteria in the colon to produce toxins harming our health.
Not everyone is easy to be infected by C. diff, but people will have higher risks to suffer from C. diff if they (are):
  • 65 years old or above
  • taking antibiotics
  • This may kill the good bacterium in your digestive tract microbiome. Make sure you take in accordance with doctors prescription.

  • stayed at a hospital or nursing home recently
  • Where germs are easily found in the environment. Keep personal hygiene.

  • have a weakened immune system
  • due to certain diseases such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, etc. which would hard to keep the health gate safe.

Diarrhea caused by C. diff is infectious especially in hospital and healthcare-associated places. There are over 200,000 estimated cases every year and 12,800 deaths in the United States (2017). In Hong Kong, there are more than 20,000 suspected cases and 2,000-3,000 reported cases annually since 2017 and mostly occurred in hospitals. As the inpatient number in Hong Kong is high, it is important to be aware of the prevention to reduce the risk of group outbreaks.

There are still ways to prevent infection of C. difficile

Prevention of suffering from C. difficile

  • Keep a hygienic environment with chlorine bleach disinfection
  • To keep the environment bacterium-free, chlorine bleach and other natural disinfection ways are recommended to reduce the risk of infection within the same environment.

  • Keep your hands hygienic
  • Hand hygiene is always the first move to prevent infectious diseases.

  • Control antibiotics use
  • Use antibiotics only under the doctor’s prescription, and follow the whole treatment prescribed by doctor.

  • Patients infected by C. diff should be isolated.
  • Isolation gowns and disposable gloves are necessary for hospital staff and visitors to prevent the spread and infection of C. diff.

** C. diff spores could not be killed by alcohol-based hand sanitizers!! **

** Wash your hands with (liquid) soap and running water! **

Let’s fight the disease!

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