C. difficile infecting more elderly outside of nursing homes, research finds

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C. difficile, a bacteria common in nursing homes and hospitals, has been afflicting more and more people outside of healthcare settings—especially the elderly, according to new research.

One possible reason for the increased rate of C. difficile infection outside of hospitals could be the germ's growing immunity to antibiotic treatments, researchers from the Mayo Clinic suggest. Though nursing home and hospital workers have become more adept at spotting the infection inside a facility, both doctors and patients should be aware that outpatient infections are on the rise, and diarrhea and stomach cramps at home could be very serious, according to researchers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 5,000 people die from the infection each year.

Other recent research has found that cases of C. difficile are becoming harder to treat, and that antibiotics could actually increase a person's chance of transmitting the disease. The Mayo Clinic research was presented at the recent annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in San Diego.


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