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Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile is a bacterium (bug) which causes diarrhoea, sometimes with abdominal pain and vomiting. The bug often occurs in the healthy gut and does no harm, until antibiotics kill other bacteria and encourage Clostridium difficile to grow and cause diarrhoea. Most often it affects elderly people and those who already have other health problems.

The symptoms range from mild diarrhoea for a few days which stops on its own, to frequent offensive stools with mucus and sometimes blood.

Healthy people are at very little risk of catching Clostridium difficile. It is not a problem to fit and healthy children or pregnant women.

Hand washing with soap and water is a simple, effective way to prevent the spread of the bacteria, hand gel is not effective.

Papworth Hospital Clostridium difficile procedure
Patients guide to Clostridium difficile
Patient guide to isolation precautions
Hand hygiene; a patient guide


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