Clostridium difficile is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins HIV Guide.

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MICROBIOLOGY

  • Spore-forming, anaerobic, gram-positive rod.
  • Produces toxins A & B, which bind to specific receptors in colon. Toxins attack Rho proteins, disrupting actin formation and causing cell death.
  • Recent animal studies suggest that toxin B, not toxin A, is essential for virulence.
  • Spores contaminate hands and hospital environment. Alcohol and other antiseptic hand rubs may be ineffective in killing spores. Hand-washing physically removes spores.
  • New hypervirulent strain (REA group B1/PFGE type NAP1) produces higher levels of toxins A and B and is associated with fluoroquinolone resistance, more severe disease, and higher mortality.

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Last updated: February 2, 2011