Bacteria's DNA fingerprint suggests it could be spreading via food distribution

Date: April 21, 2017

Source: European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Summary: Foods should be investigated as a potential source of spread of Clostridium difficile, according to research.

Foods should be investigated as a potential source of spread of Clostridium difficile, according to research presented at the 27th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID).

Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) causes gut infections and can be particularly dangerous for elderly patients. Because it is resistant to commonly used antibiotics it can emerge in patients who are already being treated in hospital for unrelated conditions.

The new research used DNA fingerprinting to examine which particular types of the bacteria were causing infections in patients and how widely they are distributed in Europe.

Some strains were found clustered within a particular country, suggesting they were possibly being passed around within hospitals -- a well-recognised route of transmission. However, because some other strains were found dispersed in several different countries, this adds weight to the idea that C. difficile could also be transmitted via our food.

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