Clostridium difficile antibiotic-resistant infections rapidly spreading in hospitals worldwide

by J. D. Heyes, Natural News  |  published on April 9, 2013

Two closely related strains of clostridium difficile, better known as C. diff, have become resistant to antibiotics, allowing them to spread rapidly to hospitals around the world, according to a new study.

The researchers have also managed to show how the bacterium traveled from place to place, country to country, by forensically analyzing the strains’ genetic code, the BBC reported.

The findings, which have been published in the journal Nature Genetics, also found that the strains of hospital infection tended to become more severe after they became resistant to bacteria-killing antibiotics, following a trend in the growing number of “superbugs” that can no longer be killed with a number of existing drugs.

Genetic code mutates rapidly

While not overtly lethal – C. diff kills about 14,000 people in the U.S. annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – infections are on the rise and will undoubtedly lead to a further increase in morbidity, experts have said.

“In recent years, C. difficile infections have become more frequent, more severe and more difficult to treat. Each year, tens of thousands of people in the United States get sick from C. difficile, including some otherwise healthy people who aren’t hospitalized or taking antibiotics,” says a description of the disease from the Mayo Clinic.

Hospitals have harbored C. diff bacteria, and the resultant infections caused by it, for decades. But concern grew in the early 2000s following large infectious outbreaks in the U.S., Europe and Canada. The increase was caused by a once-rare variant of C. diff, which has since become the most common cause of the infection in North America, researchers said.

Scientists have found that the genetic code comprising C. diff mutates very rapidly. “By comparing the genetic code of batches of C. difficile, researchers can work out how related different batches of C. difficile are,” BBC reported.

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