Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is a bacteria present in soil, air, water, human and animal feces and on most surfaces. C. diff bacteria are passed in feces and can be spread to food, surfaces and objects when people do not thoroughly wash their hands. When ingested, the bacteria do not create a problem unless it grows in abnormally large numbers in the intestinal tract and begins to attack the lining of the intestine.
The colon contains hundreds of different kinds of good bacteria important for good health, including bacteria that suppress the growth of harmful organisms. However, without enough good bacteria, dangerous bacteria such as C. diff can grow out of control and cause harm. Good bacteria may be destroyed when your child takes an antibiotic to treat an infection.
Symptoms of C. diff include:
If your child has symptoms of C. diff, a pediatric gastroenterologist can perform the following tests to make a diagnosis:
To stop a C. diff infection, your child's body needs to rid itself of the harmful bacteria and replace any good bacteria that were lost. Treatments for C. diff include:
Visit the website below to learn more about Clostridium difficile.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
The Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition Department at Riley at IU Health conducts clinical research to find better ways to prevent and treat infection. Ask one of our pediatric gastroenterologists for more information about our studies and ways to participate.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.
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