Clostridium difficile is found in the environment but is most common in hospitals. It can cause a serious hospital-acquired infection when antibiotics are used as they upset the balance of the normal gut flora, allowingC. difficile to grow and produce toxins. It is carried in the guts of 3% of healthy humans but carriage rates in hospital patients tend to be much higher and elderly people in hospitals, being treated with antibiotics are most at risk of developing infection.
The bacteria produce spores when they encounter unfavourable conditions. Transmission of infection is through the ingestion of these spores which can survive on surfaces and floors for years and are resistant to many disinfectants and antiseptics, including alcohol hand gel.
Symptoms include diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fever, bowel inflammation and possible perforation, which can be fatal. Only two antibiotics are regularly used to treatC. difficile infection: metronidazole and vancomycin, but relapse is a common problem following treatment. In 2004, a hypervirulent strain (C. difficile 027/NAP1/BI) was reported, which appears to make toxins more rapidly and at higher levels than other strains, as well as being resistant to many antibiotics, including fluoroquinolones.
Several studies in the Journal of Medical Microbiology look at the spread ofC. difficile in different countries, including Austria and Korea. Research shows that the use of antibiotic increased the risk of outbreaks of the hypervirulent strain ofC. difficile in the Netherlands. The issue also contains evidence to suggest thatC. difficile could be spread between animals and humans - researchers have isolated the bacterium from food animals in Slovenia.
Scientists investigated the effects of antibiotics, antigens and other agents on the virulence and pathogenicity of C. difficile. Toxins were also studied; research reveals some important information about the synthesis, processing and effects of different toxins. A new gene sequence has been discovered in the hypervirulentC. difficile 027 strain, which could be related to its increased virulence by affecting toxin binding.
The potential for a 'designer' probiotic forC. difficile is discussed. Professor Ian Poxton, former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Medical Microbiology said "this is an important approach that is hopefully much better than previously reported studies using commercially available yoghurt-like drinks, and certainly more palatable than 'faecal transplants'."
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences