By Kate Merrill, WBZ-TVBy Kate Merrill

DENNIS (CBS) – Three months after having knee replacement surgery, Kathleen Powers of Dennis is finally feeling well enough to do something as simple as make herself a cup of tea.

Her slow recovery has nothing to do with her knee. An infection she picked up either in the hospital or in the rehab facility ravaged her digestive system. “You feel like all of your life’s energy is being sucked out of you,” she said.

Tests confirmed Kathleen had C-Diff which is short for Clostridium Difficile. It’s a bacterium that attacks your intestines.

WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill reports.

“You feel like you’re not going to get better and you feel like you’re dying,” she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, C-Diff kills thousands of people every year and that number is growing.

“It’s between three and six-fold more common than it was just ten years ago,” explained Dr. Rocco Riccardi of Lahey Clinic.

Antibiotics are the standard treatment, but that doesn’t always work. “In that situation, one can get very, very sick and have to have their colon removed,” Riccardi said.

Both Dr. Riccardi and the CDC blame a new strain of the bacteria for the increased cases of the bug.

“This epidemic strain is much more aggressive and it produces more toxins or stronger toxins and it’s harder to treat,” Riccardi said.

C-diff is highly contagious and is spread through contaminated stool, usually by health care workers who don’t wash properly. What makes this bug particularly tricky is those alcohol-based hand sanitizers often used in hospitals don’t work on C-Diff. Doctors and nurses need to wash with soap and water before and after they visit a patient’s room. The microscopic spores can also survive for weeks on hard surfaces like a counter, a phone or a handrail.

Kathleen believes hospitals need to do more to educate and protect their patients. “You don’t think you’re going to go in (to the hospital) and come out with something deadly,” she said.

“I just want people to be aware that this C-Diff is out there and it’s devastating,” she said.

Certain antibiotics can actually increase a patient’s risk of developing C-Diff. Often doctors will prescribe an antibiotic to prevent a skin infection during surgery. But sometimes that antibiotic wipes out all the good bacteria in the patient’s gut and that clears the way for C-Diff to take over.

If you are having surgery, you should talk to your doctor about your risks. Older patients and those with certain pre-existing conditions also have a higher chance of getting C-Diff. The only other way to protect yourself is to make sure your care give keeps their hands clean or wears gloves.

Kate Merrill

Comments (184)
  1. Michelle from Methuen says:

    My 90 year old grandmother contracted this virus, which led to colitis, which led to perforated colitis, which is killing her. It’s evil – be careful.

    1. thedametruth says:

      It killed my father and my uncle. maintain an alkaline internal environment, take probiotics and stay the heck out of the hospital.

      1. Johnnydee says:

        were your uncles home gardeners? see above post

    2. Rob says:

      Some bacteria are spore formers so that is where the author is coming up wiht “spores”.

    3. Ludwig says:

      Clostridia are anaerobic, spore-forming rods (bacilli).[2] C. difficile is the most serious cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD) and can lead to pseudomembranous colitis, a severe infection of the colon, often resulting from eradication of the normal gut flora by antibiotics.[3]

      Source: Wikipedia

    4. roxmac says:

      Brance, C-diff is one of the few bacteria capable of making spores.

    5. Jessica Guereschi Wein says:

      This is in fact a bacteria and it is in fact a spore. There are two bacteria that are spores and C. diff happens to be one of them. Any general microbiology book will tell you that.

  2. Laurie says:

    C-diff seems to be very widespread in nursing homes and rehab centers. These places really need to better emphasize hygiene for workers to avoid making patients sick!!! Never hesitate to ask a doctor or staff member to wash his or her hands because it could save your life!

    1. Jean says:

      I work in a hospital and it’s not so much the health care workers not washing thier hands. Health care workers wear isolation gowns and gloves when dealing with these patients and wash their hands afterwards. The problem comes in when the patients don’t wash their hands and walk around the unit touching the rails and everything else…no one is walking behind these people with bleach wipes. Also, the patients family members refuse to wear the gowns and gloves and they spread the bacteria as well. These are the worst culprits of spreading the disease.

      1. davec says:

        I have a friend who is an infection control nurse who is on a tear about hospital cleanliness, especially CURTAINS and TRASH CANS. Says its amazing how much is missed by the cleaning staff.

        No , its not just patients spreading it. Anyone who touches a contaminated surface can spread it.

      2. Rock says:

        What you say I know to be true, however, this does not take the light off the care givers, as they sometimes do not change their gowns and gloves before entering another patient’s room after having been caring for an infected patient. I think this is an important issue to bring out also. I have seen this very thing in an ICU.

    2. strongteamaker says:


      Bird flue
      Chicken flue
      Swine flue
      Avian flue
      Mad Cow
      Flue flue
      Global warming
      Global cooling
      Lead paint
      Corporate bailout

      Everyone one of these events were going to kill us and our kids.

      This repressive and disgusting government of Blood Libelers needs a good kick in the butt.

      1. Davec says:

        Thats the result of you not having the intelligence to study things out for yourself, your “im so disgusted” attitude is convenient for whiners.

      2. suzie says:

        what is she going to do, carry a lab set everywhere to find answers? You can’t believe everything you read or hear. Even trying to study it doesn’t always give you answers if you don’t know what the hell you are dealing with in the first place.

    3. health care worker says:

      Most of these cases come from the hospital already infected, usually after being dosed with strong antibiotics. These patients need to be provided with the only known effective preventative – probiotics – before they contract C-Diff in the first place.

      Good hygiene only goes so far when the patient is a blank slate for such destructive diseases. Health care workers are one of the lowest concerns in this.

  3. Cindy says:

    This is so bad. My Mom spent two days in the hospial for breathing issues.
    and 24 hours later I had to call 911. She could not stop going like water and started to vomit. they found blood in her stool..
    That was 5 days ago.
    She sent the weekend in ICU. and just moved to surgical floor and going in hopefully just a colanosphy today.

    I am going to check if they tested for C-diff.

  4. Buddy says:

    I had surgery 4 years ago and got a staff infection. The funny thing is while sitting in the waiting room to see my doctor a patient with the same surgery, same doctor, same location also got a staff infection. Unfortunately for me I got very, very sick and had to go back into the hospital; to have it cleaned out and spent a week plus in the hospital. I aslo had to have 30 % of my repair removed due to how deep the infection was!

    I had the usual folks rounding each day and much to my surprise these folks would try and touch my wound with bare hands and not even washing before trying to do so. I politely asked the team rounding if they knew why I was here They responed yes and I then politely asked the doctor to kindly wash his hands with hot soapy water and glove up.

    I do believe this is prevenable in many situations and if the healthcare workers could take the minute it takes to properly wash and follow protocol as far as washing between patient vistis we woud all benefit.

    1. Moishe Kahan says:

      Stick up for the our rights, who then if not careless “health care” workers are to blame for sky rocket medical problems?

      1. len says:

        Tell your doctors to WASH their hands!!

  5. Donna says:

    My 86-year old mother-in-law went into the hospital 2 weeks ago with back pain from a fracture. Caught pneumonia, then into ICU, where she caught C-DIFF. Even in ICU!!! She was just moved to a nursing home yesterday and STILL HAS IT and is still experiencing diarrhea and intense intestinal pain. As the article states, she feels like she is dying and just wants to die; has lost the will to live. Still no relief in sight from C-Diff; been on the antibiotics for a week now and to no avail.

    People must be educated about this, and as Buddy stated, do not be afraid to ask that all staff members who handle their care, wash their hands and glove-up and not be afraid of hurting feelings. That is the LEAST of their worries.

    1. Ed says:

      About two years so, my wife caught C.diff in the classic manner. A doctor prescribed a broad spectrum antibiotic for fingernail fungus, which killed all the beneficial intestinal bacteria. She then visited a friend in a local hospital where she picked up the C-diff. With all the classic symptoms, and tests for everything except an intestinal infection, she then spent three days in that same hospital, and they never diagnosed her condition! When her blood pressure dropped to 55/30, and over the doctor’s objection, I took her to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville where they diagnosed her condition immeditely. The medication they prescibed caused severe hives… which was equally unpleasant. She still has preiodic re-occurrences, and possibly always will.. It is mean stuff!

    2. lois says:

      How long did it take your Mother to recover from C.diff ? This is Jan. 2012 and I have had c.diff since mid Dec. I am on the vanomycin and have days remaining…but I still have cramps and soft stools.

  6. Nancy says:

    In September 2009, I had a total knee replacement & 1 week later had C-Diff. Ended up having C-Diff for over 3 months. It is horrible & depressing. My physician had me follow the BRAT diet (banana, rice applesauce & toast) for 7 – 10 days as well as no dairy products, along with an antibiotic for each bout with C-Diff. Another important ingredient is yogurt which helps put the ‘good’ bacteria into your system. Wish I had tried the yogurt much sooner & the rice (should be white rice!), if I had I probably wouldn’t have had C-Diff quite as long.

    1. DAVID says:

      I hope that you get better. I had a severe case of C-Diff and finally found a doctor who knew what to do. Antibiotics are what caused my case most likely and the 8 day hospital stay. White blood count went over 34 and they didn’t tell me the one after that. The doctor who is in Houston is brilliant and corrected the treatment plan that two other docs were doing. Am on Florastor and Align now which are probiotics. After three weeks, still weak but I am eating almost anything that I want without a problem.

      1. Beverly says:

        Hi David, Good to hear you are on Align. Hubby just had second bout of diverticulitis in 6 months, both requiring hospitalization. This second go round made him have about 20 episodes of diarrhea in 24 hours. I was beginning to wonder if it was a hospital bug as well, but he has been on Flagyl and Levaquin. Those are some pretty strong antibiotics. His primary recommended the Align and he has been doing much better – well enough to go back to work. I am trying to research Align. I thought I knew a lot about probiotics, but this is a new one on me.

      2. david hostetter says:

        to all infected or who could get infected or for daily use get a ZAPPER FROM it kills all parasites/bacteria/viruses and can end diseases quickly. I was bedridden for 3 1/2 years on antibiotucs for 5 yes and used the zapper once and a sore throat was gone and I haven’t been bedridden since the next morning. I have been using it for 15 years now and only have to replace the battery a couple times a year. It hasn’t let me down yet. nothing can become immuned to it and it kills germs that are resistant to antibiotics.

      3. d farrell says:

        who was the Houstan doctor that helped you and how can I get in touch with him or her? Thanks for your help.

  7. Maureen says:

    I recently had C-diff from being on antibiotics following surgery. At first I thought it was a stomach bug but it just wouldn’t go away. I have been off the antibiotic for about one week but still don’t feel myself. I still feel tired and still not able to eat without having to go to the bathroom. How long does that take???

    1. health care worker says:

      Take probiotics and cross your fingers. It’s the antibiotics that got you into this mess and until the beneficial flora is back doing its job, the C-Diff will keep taking hold

      1. Jo says:

        After foot surgery in December I became really sick with “something” in my stomach and was nauseated for six weeks. I finally remembered taking probiotics a few years ago for stomach problems, so I bought a refrigerated bottle at Whole Foods. Within a couple of days I was no longer sick. Haven’t felt like I was going to vomit ever since.

      2. Jim says:

        Excellent advice. Strong immune systems and good “gut health” will protect anyone contemplating elective surgery.

    2. Linda says:

      My Mother developed c-diff in the hospital 6 years ago, while being hospitalized from a heart attack. She was in and out of the hospital for 3 months. She is still suffering the side effects and has bouts of recurrence. She has yogurt several times a day and lives on pins and needles thinking she will have a serious bout any day. .

      1. peggy says:

        Eating yogurt is great but these types of bacteria need a much higher dose of probiotics than yogurt. Not only that most people can’t stand the taste of plain yogurt so they get the kind with sugar and fruit added. bacteria, and fungus loves sugar to feed on. make sure you get the kind that has to go in the frig, otherwise the good bacteria in the probiotic is most likely dead.

    3. Alyssa says:

      I had C-Diff 2 years ago and it took me over a year to start feeling like myself again. I struggled a lot with fatigue afterwards and they did a lot of tests on me and started giving me Vitamin B-12 shots, which has really helped. And, be very gentle on your digestive system. It takes a long time for it to get back to “normal” and you may have to change some of your eating habits. I had IBS before I got C-Diff and now it’s much worse than before. I take a lot of probiotics (make sure you do research and get good ones! I use the Natren Healthy Trinity ones – you can google them) and am very careful with what I eat. Hope that helps and that you feel better quickly!

  8. Frank Caron says:

    This C-DIFF is a common as a cold in hospital, Rehab, VA and ALL Nursing homes,
    bleach is the only thing that kills it. My parents live Florida, Haynes City area caught it in Orlando, Tampa hospital and Massachusetts Springfield Hospital and the Holyoke Soldiers Home where he die.

  9. Stacey says:

    I had a C-Section in 2009. About a week after I was home I started to get sick, I thought maybe I had E-Coli because there was an E-Coli scare in the hospital water the time I was there. I had it checked out and found out I had C-Diff. About 2 weeks after finishing the medicine I became deathly sick. I was hospitalized for 5 days with C-Diff. About a month later I was sick again and was hospitalized a second time with C-Diff. It was a terrible experience and hard on my family. It is very sad that I should have been enjoying my family and maternity leave instead of being sick.

  10. Sue M says:

    C-diff is terrible! My elderly mother had it about 2 years ago, and she felt like she was dying. Thank God I knew someone else who had it, whose doctor prescribed Align! You have to replace the good bacteria. The meds kill all the bacteria, but you need to replace the good bacteria to get better. My mom literally feels that her life was saved because this person told me that their doc prescribed Align. She’s been taking Align faithfully ever since. Doctors have to prescribe a probiotic along with the medication to kill the bacteria.

  11. Verna S says:

    In January, I was admitted to the hospital for three days for an inflamed colon. I was on two different antibiotics through an IV. One week later, I was diagnosed with C-diff. C-diff destroyed my appetite, energy and I became depressed. The fact that spores can live on hard surfaces for months is frightening. In addition, it didn’t help the hospital room I stayed in was never cleaned. I since have made a complaint with the infectious department at the hospital. Are the machines they roll into each patients room cleaned? Are the blood pressure cuffs they use on each patient cleaned? Handrails, telephones even the IV pole can easily have C-diff spores. C-diff should be looked just as aggressively as MRSA.

    I have been one week off antibiotics and religiously take Florastor each day. Physically, I feel better each day. However, this disease has taken a mental toll on my psyche.

    On a separate note: There was a PBS special that scientist are developing a solution for hospitals to combat this infection.

    1. Brigette Phillips says:

      Hospitals could always use the time honoured tradition of cleansing and washing. Now there’s an idea. More “solutions” may cause more harm than good.

  12. bad news says:

    This is the start of the end by 2012 around a year from now things will get much worse.
    Two thirds of the global population we be gone. For many reasons. For better or worse this tiny blue marble that we live on will be in big trouble. No need to prepare there is nothing we can do.

  13. Noreen says:

    Before my husband died 2 years ago, he was in/out of hospitals and rehabs after a heart attack followed by a hip fracture. He picked up c-diff at Mass General following a stent procedure. When back in rehab, it amazed me that the nursing staff/aides did not understand c-diff. This was 5 years ago. I researched c-diff and became more educated than his health care workers. I watched in amazement as they took his vitals and then tripped off to the next room to the next patient (target) and it would be just a matter of days before half the floor would have c-diff signs posted outside the doorways. I had to fight for my husband to have his own ‘equipment’ as I didn’t want him to get re-infected if he was lucky enough to respond to the antibiotics. The nursing supervisor hated me. The rehab ‘house’ doctor had him on an antibiotic but once off it for a week, the c-diff was back. I finally found an excellent infectious disease specialist who told me (at that time) vancomycin (in combo with another antibiotic that I do not remember) was the drug of choice but most rehabs don’t use it because vanco is very, very expensive. I insisted. It worked. It’s the only antibiotic that cured him. My husband had c-diff four times before it was finally gone with the vanco. I watched caregivers come into his room and use purell. I asked them if they thought purell killed c-diff. They said yes. How wrong they were. I would nicely try and communicate why they were wrong. When I was with my husband, I requested every one of his caregivers wash with hot water and soap. They hated me. They thought I was a nut case. They didn’t believe me when I told them in a family meeting that c-diff spores lived on door knobs, light switches, equipment, trays, etc. If you know anyone in a hospital or rehab setting, INSIST caregivers wash before and after they touch the patient. I posted a sign on my husband’s door for all caregivers but every time I left the rehab center, the sign would come down. I’d put up another when I returned. I believe the staff didn’t want people to think their caregivers weren’t following protocol. It was a horrible, frustrating time of my life and my husband suffered literally at the ‘hands’ of his caregivers. So sad to watch the c-diff spread. I don’t understand why educating medical personnel about such a deadly infectious disease is so difficult. I’m sorry that it is still such a problem for so many. 5 years ago hospitals and rehab centers finally seemed to be addressing the c-diff issue; I can’t believe that medical personnel still don’t fully understand the ramifications of c-diff and we’re still hearing in February 2009 that c-diff continues to be a major crisis. Some of you have mentioned probiotics which are good preventive supplements to keep the GI track in balance, but they will not cure c-diff. It’s horrible to hear all these stories — WASH YOUR HANDS CAREGIVERS, PLEASE …

  14. E.R. (a RN in central MA) says:

    I am 33 years old and have had c-diff 3 times. Each time it has been worse than before and the last time landed me in the hospital twice for severe dehydration. It has been over four months and I am still suffering intestinal pain and bowel issues although am now testing negative for c-diff. I am a nurse and am very aggressive with my handwashing. The scary part is that I caught it while I was a patient and I was treated like it was no big deal, given a prescritption and told to go home and rest. No warnings about protecting my kids or taking probiotics or anything, In fact no precautions were even taken to keep me away from the other patients when I had to visit the ED. Good thing I had a little knowledge of the severity of the illness otherwise it could have been worse. As a side note- (How I got the infection) I have lupus and was on strong antibiotics for a skin infection and had to visit the hospital for testing (unrelated to c-diff). I was placed in a bed next to a patient with active c-diff, cared for by the same RN/MD team and had the same BP cuff used on me. I should have spoken up for myself but trusted that precautions were being taken. Given my already weak immune system and the fact that my risk developing c-diff was high b/c of the antibiotics anyway I should have NEVER been even placed in that room…..Lesson learned….Advocated for yourself and your family….It will save your life…..

    1. Noreen says:

      E.R. Protocol calls for ISOLATION of c-diff patients … can’t believe they co-habitated you with a c-diff positive patient. Although 5 years ago when they isolated my husband, caregivers still entered his room with equipment they took room to room. Again, lack of education about c-diff. Knowledge is good and you now know, so protect yourself and tell your medical team what they need to do because most caregivers still don’t understand. That’s why c-diff is still rampant and we’re hearing about it on the news in 2009.

    2. Barb says:

      Dear E. R.
      I am so sorry to hear of your exposure to C-Diff and the subsequent pain it continues you cause you. More media attention is needed. And we need to spread the word that those hand-sanitizers do not work against C-diff.
      I wish you continued healing.

  15. Noreen says:

    … sorry, my last comment typed 2009 … meant to type 2011 … Noreen

    1. Rose Melborne says:

      What if those responsible for the infection were libel for the medical bills?
      Like, hospital staff not washing their hands, the hospital rooms not cleaned properly, consequently, C-DIFF is easily transmitted to patient….
      I bet the administration would make sure the rooms were sterilized properly.
      Ditto for STAPH so frequently passed to patients by surgeons / nurses, etc…

  16. JBD says:


    1. E.R. (a RN from central MA) says:

      That is not 100% true. Yes we all naturally have c-diff in our gut and there are certain things that make some more susceptible than others however as healthcare workers know you have to be one step ahead of these bugs at all times. You in fact CAN catch c-diff and it IS able to be somewhat contained at this point with proper handwashing and sanatizing of sufaces and enforcing contact precautions. As a nurse I know how difficult and thankless a job in healthcare can be at times but…..the patient is ALWAYS my number 1 priority and if taking that extra minute to wash my hands or advocate for an isolation room MAY prevent a serious infection regardless of whether the patient came in with it or not then that is what I am going to do. There is no need to place blame anywhere. There is a need for education and follow-up on both sides of the hospital bed. Families need to be able to voice their valid concerns and feel safe asking for simple infection control measures to be taken. Hospital workers need to take an active step in the research and educating these patients and in coming up with and enacting policies and procedures that make everyone safe. My eyes were opened when I switched roles from RN to patient. I have the knowledge and I was still terrified and easily swayed by half truths. It really doesn’t matter what infection/bacteria/virus one is talking about. The conclusion is the same….healthcare workers have a responsibility to do what they can to protect themsel;ves and their patients and on the reverse side patients/families have a responsibility and a right to advocate for themselves and educate themselves and hold healthcare accountable for keeping up with the times.

    2. anon says:


    3. Deborah Sobwick says:

      My husband had this problem and he had to to take vankomicen for the rest of his life, and there are plently of caregivers in hospitals that don’t care whether they wash their hands or not,

    4. tim says:

      You don’t understand infection or bacterial strains. Please take some time to learn.

  17. yiddishlion says:

    When did they start giving viruses rap names?

    1. yiddishlion says:

      Sorry, I meant bacterium…….

      1. SANDI says:

        The bacteria infection you are making fun of is a severe infection that can caUSE DEATH IN SOME .

      2. sick with c.diff says:

        This is a very serious and painful disease which you have no control over wether you get it or not…..your comment was rude and NOT COOL……beware of KARMA

  18. anon says:

    Doctors are minimizing this..DO NOT LET THEM! Everyone please speak up about this. I contracted C-diff in a Boston hospital at only 36. Almost didn’t make it through and the damage is permanent. The antibiotics that caused it along with proton pump inhibitors were not needed and are often over-prescribed. The team were not washing their hands. I was told very little and the doctors were either uninformed or purposefully deceptive. A probiotic called Saccharomyces Boulardii is used in Europe with good results, why not in U.S.? Flagyl, used to treat C-diff is a very harsh medication and is becoming ineffective due to a new drug resistant strain. Losing one’s colon should not be the price of receiving medical care. Don’t let purposeful ignorance rule the day educate yourself it could save someone’s life, perhaps your own.

    1. Cher says:

      I’m so sorry Donna and all who have or are suffering form this. It is real. My dad died form it and my MOm almost did. Both were in the hospital at the time. Dads was in brain ICU and MOm recovering from hip replacement
      Mm lives downstaris and we are clean,
      I;ve been suffering form monthly UTIs, the newest antibiotic made me deathly ill even tho I was taking anti fingals; they didnt work. I was inthe local ER twice nad they let me come home ea time I became deathly ill. I am now home and havent even been able to drin water even a sip results in virulant diahrrea. I was up entier night with fever of 100.9, chills, body terribly aching and sensitive, horrid stomach aches and cramping etc etc. I feel like death. I am dehydrdrated. The pain spec uro gyn who gave em the antiboitic referred me to the GI doc; they wont see me til Nov as I was ill and cancelled once or twice withthem. Pardon me for being chronically ill. Called PCP they told me I am so far out of the Network they cant get med recs so wil lnot advise me. SO here I am. I may not be tomorow however as this is quite quite real I assure you. I am defreed in MLS and HS by the way. I have studied this in school. Its not doign me much good as I had to drop med school plans due to illness and I cant treat myself. Sad situation how they downplay this and many do die form it honestly. Cher

  19. R.Gross says:

    One cure with a high rate of success is to inoculate the infected bowel with healthy flora. This is done by a poop transplant. No lie. Sounds gross by its accomplished by way of a intubation.

    1. SueDonim says:

      That’s right. They did that to me. I had forgotten. Don’t recall the proper name for the treatment, but that’s what they did

    2. Will says:

      There is an article about fecal transplanting in this month’s Discover Magazine. Seems to be highly successful.

  20. JR says:

    My mother contracted this from a hospital stay and she was given some amazingly expensive antibiotics to combat it. Whenever the prescribed amount ran out, it would come back. I looked up this virus and read that it can shield itself from antibiotics, when the antibiotics go away, then it removes the shield and comes back. I told my mother about “pulse” dosing, taking the prescribed amount of antibiotics for a day, then stopping for a day, then taking them again. After a couple days of pulse dosing, the virus was finally gone for good.

  21. SueDonim says:

    Had a bout of C Diff about 5 years ago after having a tooth extraction. Don’t know when I caught the C Diff. Probably at an after school hospital job 20 years ago. Anyway, the anti-biotic for the tooth extraction killed the good stuff and C Diff went wild. I felt like my guts were turned inside out and had to go to ER. A change in meds + pro-biotic did the trick, but I was as weak as a puppy for 2 weeks. FWIW, I am healthy and in mid-40s

    1. Jen says:

      what antibiotic were you on?

  22. connectthedots says:

    Google fecal transplant. A calgary doctor has had widespread success with treating Cdiff with this procedure.

    1. Colleen says:

      I had a fecal transplant in July 2010, after suffering from c diff since Novemember of 2008. I contracted c diff from taking Clindamyacin, an antibiotic prescribed by my dentist. I went throught four rounds of other antibiotic treatments including vancomyacin, with no positive results. Four months after the transplant I was feeling great and tested negative in multiple samples. Unfortunately in the last six weeks I have experienced a return of my symptoms but am still testing negative. It seems they are really at al oss on how to treat me now because I cant start taking antibiotics again, as this would almost certainly cause a return of c diff. I am now taking meds to control my diarrhea, a probiotic to help try and get some balance, and zantac to control heartburn and indigestion (another result of my unbalanced gut). I am feeling like I have to learn to live this way which is no way to live. And reading how many people die from the disease is really scary.

      1. Susan Bernal says:

        Dear Colleen. I also take enzymes and I am managing well. Also I make sure I drink water and eat good fiber. My story is your story. Susan

  23. Michelle says:

    The problem with c. difficile is that alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t do anything to it. Caretakers must wash their hands withs soap and water to keep it from spreading.

    Unfortunately, most hospital workers rely heavily on the wall-mounted foam dispensers and have lost the habit of frequent handwashing.

    1. Ash says:

      I am a nurse and we do use foam in between unless a patient has been diagnosed with Cdiff. The foam is easier on our hands and kills mostly everything…except CDIFF. I frequently wash my hands and consequently, my hands have patches of open skin that leave ME susceptable to infection.

      I have worked in several facilities, both acute & long-term, in different states and they all have similar policies regarding handwashing.

      One thing that we need to look closer at is the process of cleaning the room: keyboards, phones, bedside tables, railings. These are more likely to be contaminated than our hands.

      1. Mark says:

        Try using this stuff.

        Use it during the day and especially before bed while your hands are healing and then at night and in the morning to keep your hands from drying out and splitting.

  24. kiwi.doc says:

    there is a new treatment for C. difficile infections, its called a faecal transfusion, which basically involves taking a healthy persons poo and placing it in the colon of the sick persons.

  25. pagaudet says:

    Perhaps we should all go back to wearing gloves when we go out like they did in the late 19th century. It blows my mind that I had grandparents and great grandparents who lived to be 100 years old and they didn’t even have the benefit of antibiotics and now in 2011 we have things like this!! You have to be your own health care advocate, and if they don’t like what you are saying…tell them to shut up!!

  26. Peanut says:

    My elderly mother contracted C.difficile in Overlake hospital in Bellevue, Wa. during her last stay. She originally went to hospital to receive a stint the last week of October. By the time she had the stint, she contracted C.difficile. Then she had an operation that removed a major portion of her colon, as the C. difficile was rampant. The hospital got the bacteria under control and she was released to rehab. C. Difficile came back, and my mother died.

    1. Beverly says:

      Peanut, I am so sorry for the loss of your mother.

  27. don says:

    An old doctor told me that antibacterial hand wash and antibacterial soap is one of the worst things that has happened concerning health.

  28. Veronica says:

    My 50 year old husband got CDIF after hip surgery in rehab. The medical staff plays dumb because it makes their facility look bad. It took a month for him to be properly diagnosed. He was in good health before and was not on any antibiotics. We thought he was going to die. He was on vandomycin for 6 months. Everytime he got off, the infection came back. He started taking a thick liquid Russian yogurt called Kefir – tons of priobiotics. You need to go to a Russian market to buy it. The probiotics in the supermarket yogurt are not good enough. I mention it in case it will help others. Its been a little over a year, and he is doing well. More research is defintely needed to find a cure. But the medical community needs to step up and admit it is a huge problem. Most people I know never heard of it because no one talks about it. Thanks for doing a story on it.

    1. Kimberly A. Blevins says:

      Kefir is best. The summer before last, my 85-year-old father was in an out of the hospital, then nursing home, and contracted C-diff. After a year and a half of dealing with C-diff and its occasional resurgences, I am convinced of the need to keep my father on probiotics for life. When the C-diff resurges, I give him daily doses of Kefir, which does have the most effective kind of probiotic to fight C-diff. Here in Florida, Publix supermarket carries it, in different flavors no less. We have also bought it at the health food store. I also give him yogurt and other probiotics to complement the Kefir. When the C-diff is under control, I still give my father probiotic (acidophilus) tablets, one in the morning, and one at night, occasional Kefir and yogurt (a couple of times a week) and pray. I have learned the hard way that if I stop giving him the probiotic as a preventive, the C-diff can and will roar back with a vengeance. It’s opportunistic that way.

  29. Peanut says:

    Brance it is a gram negative bacterium that is so dangerous, and yes it does spore. Gram positive and gram negative bacterium are different and require different treatments. Unfortunately, for my mother, she was already too sick and could not fight off this infection. Her last weeks on this earth were extremely painful and unpleasant. She died Dec. 13th.

    1. Mary Lee says:

      Peanut, I am sorry for your loss…

    2. Linda says:

      Dear Peanut, I’m sorry about your mother, I know it hurts very much. In Sept we were told my husband’s cancer was terminal. We were applying to be accepted into a clinical trial. Within 6 weeks he had lost 30lbs, constant vomiting and 10 – 15 bowel movements in a 24 hr period. We were at the hospital having blood drawn for clinical trials so more than just the usual tests were done. He was admitted immetiately with C-DIFF, we had never heard of it. He had surgery Feb 2010, which is probably where/when he became infected. The cancer had masked the C-DIFF. He had a feeding tube because he couldn’t swallow. The conditions in that tube were just right to propogate the C-DIFF. No one ever mentioned probiotics.No one ever mentioned antibiotics could contribute to C-DIFF. The C-DIFF also caused very high levels of calcium which affects kidneys and heart, and very low potassium which affected brain and caused some very strange behavior. He was in hospital for 4 days then sent home to finish the antibiotics he had been given for C-DIFF. I was told to ‘make him comfortable’. I knew what that meant. He passed away Dec 20, 2010, I know the C-DIFF hastened his death. This was the second marriage for both of us, we had a great life together. We had been married only two years. l start grief counseling on Valentine’s Day.

  30. Eric says:

    CURE!! People might try Activated Charcol pills available at any natural food store and many grocery stores for about $12. I nearly died from severe diahrea after drinking bad water on a trip in Eastern Europe and this is what they gave me. Cured me in less than an hour – took 3 pills. (normal dose as a supplement is 1). No drugs but it creates environment where bad bacteria cant grow… it is the same stuff in the best backpacking water filters….pour in water from a puddle and out comes clean water.

    1. JB says:

      do you think Charcoal pills might help against Lyme’s ?????? People are also searching for an answer for that as well

  31. Malik Nidal says:

    C-Diff killed my friend’s father after he got in in a filthy Kaiser hospital.

    C-Diff is on most doctor’s stethescopes, blood pressure cuffs, bed hand rails….it’s everywhere inside hospitals.

  32. Rob says:

    If you are on these strong antibiotics and you get C. diff. You should also be taking a strong refrigerated PROBIOTIC such as Healthy Trinity by Natren.

  33. Ludwig says:

    The problem, basically, is that by definition being in a hospital means that you are in a compromised position to begin with. Your body is not at optimal health or you wouldn’t be there. Compound that with antibiotic regimens that wipe out intestinal flora leaving only the hardiest bacterium i.e. C. dif. The reason it is so tough is that it forms a spore – a kind of super shell to help it survive when the environment it is in isn’t favourable for it to live. This is why it can survive on fomites – doorknobs, counters, phones and remote controls for TV’s. The phone and remotes are probably the greatest source as they are the least likely to be cleaned – check hotel surveys on cleanliness – the TV remote is usally more contaminated than the toilet.

    There is a procedure called fecal transplantation that works much more effectively than probiotics… sounds gross, is kind of gross, but it works because you are taking healththy bacterium from a family member and implanting it directly in the intestines of the person with C.dif. A lot (not all) of probiotics are not prepared well enough to survive the journey from manufacture, to the store, to your shelf and then through your stomach. The other advantage of a fecal transplantation coming from a family member is that the family member will probably have the same bacterium that the sick person once had, so the sick person is getting bacterium that are used to living in relatively the same environment… better chance of survival. Think of it as a “Survivor” show/ battle for dominance going on in your intestines.

    The key is that you are harvesting viable bacterium and transplanting them
    under anaerobic conditions – without oxygen conditions – most of the weight in an average stool sample comes from anaerobic bacterium – bacteria that live without oxygen – this is why your stool sample smells bad – the waste byproduct from anaerobic bacteria.

    Hope this helps in understanding the process of infection and alternative options for treatment.

  34. Debbie Schaub says:

    My mother died a year ago this week from c-diff. She entered the hospital for testing on a Friday with the intentions of being released on Monday. She ended up in ICU due to a hospital medication error and caught c-diff. She died from a ruptured bowel. She bled to death as a result of c-diff. The irony is that my mother took probiotics every single day when she was home. Did not know anything about it until it was too late. I would have demanded the probiotics. Seems strange it isn’t the protocol with c-diff, since it is proven probiotics replenishes good bacteria.

  35. Julie says:

    Thanks everyone that commented, I lost my father to this in August as he was in and out of hospital with other ailments.
    My mother was given an anti-biotic… and you guessed it – she now has it. After a bought with flagyl, she’s now on vincmyacin and a probiotic.

    Keep spreading awareness and hopefully we can reduce the spread of this terrible bug!

    1. Deborah Sobwick says:

      I bet you are paying a small forutune for that medicine.Off of medicare d we had to pay 1200 a month

  36. next door neighbor says:

    You all ought to read the book “Sheer Buffoonery”. It’ll really open your eyes as to what goes on in our nation’s hospitals.

  37. Sarah says:

    I just want to thank everyone for their comments!

    I learn more from the comments on articles than I do the actual articles!

  38. Bob says:

    I had CiDiff in 2006 after my latest prescription of antibiotics that I did not need. I was out of work for a month and lost 25 lbs. I was on the 2 drugs that they prescribe. Because of this I now have gastritis. I will never take a antibiotic again.
    I had been on them for 25 years due to sinus infections. I now keep my nose flushed daily with warm salt water. Have not had a sinus infection in over 3 years.

  39. Luke says:

    Interestingly the Clostridium family of bacteria have several members which are dangerous to humans under specific conditions? For example Clostridium botulinum is a harmless bacteria which is present in soil, but when you cut off the oxygen to this bacteria thus creating an anaerobic (non-oxygen) environment, it produces one of the deadliest toxins (botulinum toxins also known as Botox) known to man as a byproduct of functioning in an anaerobic environment. C.difficile isn’t a problem until therapy with antibiotics to treat or prevent an infection or use of any type of drug which kills the normal “flora” which populate the human gut thus allowing C.difficile to overpopulate the gut in the absence of competitive microorganisms. Thus with the massive increase of C.difficile bacteria, the toxin which the bacteria secretes is not a problem when the numbers are normal, but when there is an overgrowth of this particular bacteria the toxin and it’s effects upon the intestinal lining become a potentially deadly problem? Perhaps ingesting a probiotic prior to the beginning of antibiotic therapy or having surgery might be of some value? Also not to be disgusting, but it seems that fecal material from a healthy person besides being introduced to the lower intestine could also be ingested if necessary? Either way the “good” microorganisms would be introduced to the digestive system to compete with the C.difficile and thus reduce it’s numbers back to a healthy level?

  40. April Romero says:

    My father contracted C-diff when he took clindamycin which was prescribed to him prior to having two root canals. Initially they prescribed flagyl to treat it but that did not work so they put him on vancomycin. When he finally had the two root canals he came down with it a second time and nearly died. As a consequence he had to have IV iron because he became anemic. During that time my mother went into the hospital to have knee replacement surgery and they let him visit her while she was there even though they knew he had C-diff! However the rehab facility where she went for three days after her release from the hospital would not let him come visit nor could he go in to pick her up to take her home when she was discharged! They wheeled her out the front entrance to his car! A new treatment is fecal transplants, they take fecal material (usually from a relative) and transplant into the small intestine where it repopulates it with good bacteria. It sounds gross but it works! I am a nurse and all I can say is wash, wash, wash your hands!

  41. grateful says:

    My Mom contracted C Diff on a cruise around the tip of S. America, but nobody knew it ’til about a week later. The ship’s doctor sent her to the hospital in Santiago, Chile, where she stayed for a couple of days. But when the ship was ready to depart and the hospital wanted her to stay (naturally), she threw a fit and came back. When her plane landed in Miami, she called me sounding almost dead. I could not convince her to go to the hospital, but after 2-3 more days suffering alone at home, one of her friends convinced her and she actually crawled to the woman’s car. She almost died before they diagnosed the cause and began to treat it. She improved and they sent her home with a probiotic. She was not getting well, but kind of holding her own. I went to the health food store and bought a bottle of probiotics, which when I compared the nutritional info, the OTC bottle was about 5 times stronger than the prescribed one. I had Mom take them in addition to the one from the doctor. Within a couple of days she began to improve and within a little over a week, she was beginning to return to her activities. She was 81 at the time. She’ll be 87 in a few months. She never had another problem with it.

  42. jc says:

    Can I just say don’t eat the food in hospitals. If infection from these superbugs exists in these medical facilities then imagine that it would include the possibility of food contamination.

  43. Tia says:

    Saccharomyces boulardii (as in Florastor) should be given to all patients – it has a special kind of probiotic. Other regular probiotics are also necessary for everyone, all the time but especially with on and after antibiotics (but take at opposite clock times, not at the same time). See

    Only Saccharomyces boulardii and, to a lesser degree, L. casei rhamnosus (GG) have been shown to protect against C. difficile.

  44. Jeri Tonti says:

    In August my father who was healthy went into the hospital for hip replacement surgery, by mid September he was dead…C-Diff killed him. There is no excuse for the way hospitals cover up the situation by denial of the contamination….he went in the hospital, a vibrant, active man, and ended up as a statistic…he was killed through negligence…its the same as if he was murdered…

  45. D. Mills says:

    A friend of mine who is head of nursing at a major metropolitan hospital told me that the sad fact is nobody cleans hospital rooms properly. Cleanliness used to fall within the purview of the nurse. Now it is “beneath’ the nurse to do so, and she is often too busy to do so. Cleanliness is key to ensuring the a happy outcome for the patient. It is almost as though we have learned nothing since doctors went from bed to bed passing on childbed fever to delivering mothers with their nasty unwashed hands. This is a BIG DEAL in England–why not here?

  46. Johnnydee says:

    naturally this bacteria is found in soil. I would have to ask if she was around any indoor potting plants or had done any potting or soil changing with her indoor plants just before or after her operation? This bacteria is ingested it will not enter through a cut or surgical incision.

    E-coli. staphylococci, Streptococci, and many other bacterias are found in the soil and with all the organic soil conditioning going on it is no wonder that some of these types have become antibiotic resistant. soil conditioning promotes a antibiotic soil naturally. Many of these super strains are being created by innocent people doing organic gardening using EM1 and other organic formulas to treat soil then it is ingested and bingo spreads to others.

  47. Johnnydee says:

    all who have had this disease or others I mentioned above that are bacterial related are you using organic cultivation practices? do you do home gardening using EM1 or other organic methods? These methods do create super strains of bacterias found in soil. Bacillus, which include staph, strep, E-coli, salmonella and many many more

    1. Shannon says:

      Johnnydee- Thanks for the information on gardening. I’m was planning to start gardening for the 1st time this spring, and was going to do it all organic….I’ll look into it more now, but I wouldn’t have had a clue if you hadn’t mentioned that.
      My children have a long history with MRSA infections and taking ridiculous amts of antibiotics…After being infection free for over a year now, .I definitely don’t want to do anything that can increase their chances of setting that off again.

      1. Johnnydee says:

        yes using EM1 or other that require you to do certain types of Composting in fact will create all sorts of strains of different bacteria especially those of the Lacto-bacillus, but e-coli Salmonella, flesh eating types. also the soil stays warm and will also allow viruses to stay alive and mutate as well. if you use cow manure E-coli, Chicken salmonella, Goat manure Anthrax types.

        the problem is no one is doing scientific test to see what is bring created and it changes from location to location

  48. roxmac says:

    leave a comment

  49. jc says:

    Some comments above recommend Saccharomyces boulardii (aka S. boulardii), a yeast-based probiotic used first in Europe and now in the US. It works well, BUT be careful because if you are susceptible to fungal infections, you could develop a problem with the S. boulardii colonizing your gut and giving you a major systemic yeast infection. Most MDs are not aware of this side effect and do not watch for it. If an MD doesn’t believe that this can happen, ask the MD to check the medical literature. It’s reported, esp. in Europe. Just a cautionary comment, because a massive yeast infection is probably better to have than C.diff.

  50. roxmac says:

    I am a hospital lab technologist that specializes in microbiology. I got a serious C-diff infection in 2006. I will share with you what I have learned.

    C. difficile is a gram-positive, anaerobic gram-positive bacterium. Its commonly found in soil. It forms spores that are resistant to heat, cold and alcohol. It can be one of the many bacteria that lives in the colon normally. About a decade ago, it was discovered that people who were treated with powerful antibiotics (that only kill AEROBIC bacteria) would develop a mild diarrhea, gasto, problem. Scientist discovered that the C-diff makes 2 toxins, A and B that cause these symptoms. Because the C-diff was able to take over the colon, their toxin caused the symptoms. Treatment with an anaerobic-killing antibiotic, called metronidazole, would usually kill it.
    In 2006, I had a colonoscopy and developed a sub-clinical, 2 month gastric problem. What I didn’t know during that time was that a “hyper-virulant” strain of C-diff was causing it. Because my immune system was down, I got a sinus infection and got antibiotics. Within 1 day of starting them, I was sick as hell, in the hospital about to loose my colon! Metronidazole failed. I got a gastro specialist who gave me ORAL vancomycin. Vancomycin is usually given by IV and is the only drug that kills MRSA. Both MRSA and C-dff are gram-positive. Plus I took probiotics. It took a couple of months to recover.
    Now everytime I take antibiotics I take probiotics. Everytime I get ANY kind of gastro problem, I take probiotics. If you have ever had C-diff OR been around anyone with it, assume you are a carrier!
    Here’s the deal. Just like staph. It used to be normal and fairly harmless. Because of the super-drugs and their overuse, it has mutated into a horrible little bug! Just like MRSA, hyper-virulant C-diff used to only be passed in institutional settings. But now it is becoming a “community-acquired” bug.
    I will NEVER have another scope or use that colon-cleansing stuff again! You people who are into self-colon cleansing BEWARE! Don’t mess with mother nature!

    1. Theresa says:

      Vancomycin is NOT the only antibiotic that will kill MRSA. My son and I both had recurring MRSA for about 2 years. He received Vancomycin (IV) once in the ER and I never received it. We have both been MRSA free for several years now. Other antibiotics will kill MRSA, thank goodness because we found out in the ER that my son is allergic to it. Taking a good probiotic while on the antibiotic and continuing it after the antibiotic course is over is what finally broke the cycle

  51. roxmac says:

    WOW! sucks for you that you didn’t get into heaven!

  52. Cdiff survivor says:

    Tell your doctors to wash their hands.

    QUESTION ANY ANTIBIOTIC. You need your good gut bacteria to stop CDiff and antibiotics wipe them out.

    Stool transplants and mega-dose Probiotics can save the lives of those with Cdiff – if you have Cdiff – seek out these treatments.

  53. Keith says:

    Hospital workers should be using skin sure for mrsa and cdiff. It’s a miracle, and was a miracle for my family. Really. Google skin sure.

  54. Joan says:

    My 86 year old mother had colitis and was hospitalized for a week on antibiotics and then had a colonoscopy. She went to rehab afterwards for a week and came down with C-Diff. She was dying from it and had to have her colon removed.
    It’s been over 10 weeks since the opertion and she is still weakened.and feeling awful and fighting to recover. All the antibiotics she’s been on have led to one antibiotic resistent infection after another. I hope that this news story brings needed attention to a growing and alarming situation.

  55. Bilbo says:

    And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering

    1. Shannon says:

      That contributed sooo much.
      Ok everyone, forget the probiotics and whatnot, Totally useless.
      All you have to do is find the elusive Jesus and sneak up behind him to touch his clothes!

  56. bluedog23 says:

    There is always at least one in every group of posters.

  57. Justin Tyme says:

    Imagine the virus everyone is getting reading your comment.

  58. Edith McCrotch says:

    MaryAnne, I’m surprised you didn’t see the C-Diff in your colon since your head is right up there within eyesight of it. R.I.P. girl.

  59. stella barbut says:

    So why don’t Doctors, Nurses, Care-givers, hospital cleaners, who don’t wash properly, manage to give the disease to patients without getting the disease themselves? Surely they use their improperly washed hands to care for themselves?

    1. kathy says:

      i think it has to do with the fact that most of these patients are also on a strong antibiotic (sometimes just to prevent infection from a surgery) and that antibiotic kills the ‘good’ bacteria in the colon and allows the c-diff to take over. the healthcare workers are not subject to both: exposure to c-diff AND being on a strong antibiotic

  60. L. Smith says:

    New Years Eve 2008. I take Ompreazole for heartburn. I had eaten a lot of Prenoscuitto rolled with cheese that night. Explosive diarrhea for two days. I called my Doctor, he told me to keep trying the OTC medicines (no help at all). Now I am on my third day of “in one end, out the other” in less than 5 minutes. Now it may not have been C-Diff. But it was some bad bacteria I had. I happened to be working with some guys from California that have a product called ARS for Acid Replacement Solution. It has a pH of less than 1. They use it in Commercial Water Remediation processes. 1 1/2 tsp ARS mixed with 6-8 ozs of water or Gatoraide to make it palatable. 1 dose every 30 minutes for 6 doses. Cured by the 3rd dose. Replaced the acid which killed off the bad bacteria. I understand they are trying to get it to market for the treatment of C-Diff. Website is here.
    It worked for me, but of course it is not approved for Human Consumption, or as a Medical treatment.

  61. Keith says:

    I just lost a dear friend to C-Diff at Sentara VA Beach General. He entered with a abdominal aneurism that had left him severely dehydrated as it blocked passage of food and liquid. A week after admission and recovery from the initial problem, he was diagnosed with C-DIFF and in a day he was dead. The hospital was responsible enough to isolate him during his illness but the staff treated his isolation somewhat casually. When I asked if it was the normal strain or the “epidemic” strain that he had, his nurse told me “its just C-diff.” My friend’s dead and “its JUST C-diff” …

    1. roxmac says:

      Your friend had the hyper-virulant, “epidemic” strain. Wild-type C-diff does not cause the life-threatening bowel inflammation. Nurses know how to care for you but they don’t know microbiology. Hell, I’m a microbiologist and didn’t know that C-diff had mutated until I got sick from it and did my own internet research (of scientific articles). That was in 2006 when it was just emerging.
      I’m sorry you lost your friend.

  62. Here They Come says:

    Sounds gross but google : “FECAL TRANSPLANT” for C-DIFF.

  63. Teresa says:

    My brother contracted C-diff presumably from a handrail at college in 2000. Found out at the same time that he also had Crohn’s disease. Everything they gave him to get the Chron’s under control fed the c-diff, and vice versa. He’s 6’3″ and was over 200 lbs when he went into the hospital in March. When he was released in July, he was absent his colon up to his illium (has an illiostomy), and weighed 130 lbs. Should have died at least three times because his blood chemicals were so badly out of balance.

    Here we are 11 years later and he still has c-diff. It’s being managed through medication, but hasn’t been cured. Didn’t know it could go chronic, but it did with him. His case has been written up in medical books across the world. No one else has had the complications he has had.

  64. Trudy says:

    This has been such an informative article. How many physicians know about probiotics and use them? Probably very few. Yet it sounds critical to controlling this condition. Wonder if CDC is studying the combination of probiotics that would be needed to restore the gut to healthy state.

  65. valleytxgal says:

    In 2008, I had gum surgery, The Dentist gave me an antibiotic. 2 Weeks later, I started with diarrhea. Had it for 4 or 5 days and became incoherent with fever and my husband took me to ER. All I remember was I was in my bed and next thing I wake up in recovery hospital 2 1/2 mos later. I had C-diff but I was unconscientous for those 2 1/2 mos. I am told by my family that I had kidney failure, and was on dialysis for several weeks, Most of everythink was shutting down, they did surgery on my colon thinking I had a porforated colon which they found that was not the case. I had a traechy. I got pneumonia. They did not know what was causing my deathly medical problem. My family was told I was not going to survive this. When I woke up 2 1/2 mos later I was confused as to where I was. I finally was able to talk. I still had my food bag attached to my stomach as I was not able to eat b/c I was unconscious. I finally was able to be rehabed, to be able to walk and they would check my reflexes to see if I had brain damage. I survived. The antibiotic caused my C-diff. 4 mos later I got it again. I was hospitalized for 1 mo. The third time I got it I was hospitalized for 3 weeks and was later moved to a nursing home for rehab. My IG Dr. prescribed Align and told me that if I ever need antibiotics to take hard strength flagyl with it.

    Needless to say, I am allergic to antibiotics and if a Dr says I need it for some infection, I have to go without. I had bronchitis last month and refused antibiotic and had a hard time with bronchitis but at least since I did not get pneumonia I am still alive. I take Align religiously. I have had a colonoscopy, an endoscopy and found out I have diverticulitis. I am very careful what I eat. Oh yes, I almost forgot, I also am diabetic and have neuropathy, but I am still alive by the grace of God.

  66. Lynn says:

    Several years ago, I was given Cephalex for a bad sinus infection. I remember reading the patient insert, and it warned that you could get a serious, and potentially diarrhea called “C-Diff.” It said you could get C-diff weeks, or even months, after completing the antibiotics. It startled me at the time because I’d never seen such a warning before. I try very hard not to take anti-biotics if possible, and let my body heal itself the way it was designed. It drives me crazy when my friends take antibiotics at the first sign of a sniffle….or, worse yet, when they only take them for 1-2 days, then they say “I felt better so I stopped taking them.”

  67. Jerome Borden says:

    I already knew about C-botulinus and C-tetani, so this is new and somewhat scary. Sounds like another member of a nasty family of germs. Is any of this stuff following colo-rectal exams?

  68. Larry Wendell says:

    I had C-Diff in December, 2009. It was caused by too many antibiotics the doctors gave, as it was stated to me by a doctor from Infectious Disease & Epidermial Dept at the Univ. of Nebraska, in Omaha. I had real lousy case of MERSA before this, and before that H1N1. This all came about from the H1N1 in October, 2009, MERSA in November, 2009, and C-Diff in December, 2009. I spent all of Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years, fighting for my life. I agree with all the comments above, a new cleansing of medical personnel hands is needed, though I do believe the doctors that all the antibiotics that was used kiled the good germs in the body, and C-Diff too over. In my case it was complete dehydration from massive diarrehea, which rendered me to learn to walk again.

  69. Doris says:

    Watch The Human Centipede on Netflix for ultimate poop transplant.

  70. Katherine says:

    I am a RN and well aware of c diff. But to my sorrow my precious Father in Law lost his life after surgery last week to c diff. I was on my way from Charlotte NC to take care of him after his discharge that was to be that day. However he went to his other home heaven instead. I am devistated,shocked and angry at the hospital care.

  71. Jerry says:

    Sadly, my mom passed away from C-Diff late last year.

  72. Dr. Steve says:

    Reason #1 for good hand washing hygiene. C-Diff, MRSA, VRE, etc. are predominantly spread by healthcare workers who do not properly wash their hands. When your doctor, nurse, etc., comes in the room ask them in they washed their hands before they entered. Play it safe!

  73. UkinCallMeRay says:

    My wife has crohn’s disease. Developed an ovarian cyst which was thought to be malignate. Surgically removed. Antibiotic, . . . C-diff, complicated by the crohn’s, which damned near killed her before she was diagnosed.

  74. funyuns says:

    After reading these posts I am unlike nearly everyone here…I am no medical professional. But did anyone notice the hand print in the petri dish in the video above? Washing your hands is not rocket science its historical fact. When people started washing their hands, generally they get sick less and make others sick less.

  75. Jamie says:

    You can cure C-diff in 1-2 days with MMS, google it!!

  76. biffula says:

    Stay out of hospitals. If you cant, get out of them the second you can. Those places are killers. They’ve all become filthy disease ridden places.

  77. ragu4u says:

    I’ve had several instances to know people who have died and many more who ALMOST died due to this bacteria. These people were in hospitals getting better and about to go home when c-diff became noticed. They were dead in days and everyone seemed baffled. Baffled my butt. They were covering their butts and forgot to wash their hands after doing so. The lawsuits could go into the millions.

  78. annemn says:

    My husband had a tooth pulled a few years ago. It got infected and the oral surgeon put him on Clindamycin. He started having colitis type problems. Was finally tested and it was C. diff. Put on Flagyl. Ate yogurt too. It got better but came back again. More Flagyl . Also began taking a probiotic and it cleared. He still takes the probiotic. When dentist recommended our 20 yr old daughter have her wisdom teeth pulled, I asked about the chance of C diff. He said he’d never let his kids take Clindamycin. A relative of ours got it from taking Cephalexin. Avoid these two and always take a probiotic, or at least yogurt, when you’re taking an antibiotic.

  79. Linda Binghamton says:

    I am a registered nurse who nearly died from the deadly form of C-Diff. A doctor who did not wash his hands ate from nurses’ plates at a potluck and 5 of us were hospitalized. I was out of work for nearly a year and it took 3 more years to recover from extensive surgery and subsequent hospitalization.

    Hand sanitizers give staff a false sense of cleanliness. Make sure your MD or RN washes their hands IN FRONT OF YOU before you are examined. And nurses, hide your food!!

  80. Noreen says:

    Hey, c-diff is an incredibly serious infection running rampant in our health care system. Why don’t some of you who don’t have anything knowledgeable to contribute keep your whacky, some nasty, comments to yourselves? Many of us lost our loved ones to c-diff and they didn’t go into the hospital or rehab with it — they got it after they were admitted. Instead of posting really stupid messages, why don’t you spend some time educating yourselves. Who knows, you too may be in a similar situation one day; you best pray that never happens.

  81. J. Deane says:

    Based on a recent program on public television discussing recent technological innovations in medicine, it would seem that a very effective and low cost measure would be to mandate the use of “Sharklet” coatings in all hospitals and nursing homes. For details, see their website. It’s truly amazing.

  82. Tracey says:

    A neighbor contracted C-Diff in rehab after a stroke. He battled this horrible infection for 1-1/2 years, switching from Vancomycin to Flagyl and back again. His doctor didn’t know what else to do and his wife was at her wit’s end from cleaning up diarrhea with bleach. I heard about their frustration from their son and knocked on their door. The doctor had scheduled colon removal surgery for two weeks later, but warned my neighbor’s wife that he probably wouldn’t survive the surgery in his weakened state. I offered her a bottle of colloidal silver (bought from for $13) and recommended that they try giving him a tablespoon three times a day in addition to the probiotics he was already taking daily. Out of desperation she said that she’d “try anything.” A week later the doctor canceled the surgery as there was no longer any evidence of C-Diff. My neighbor is still alive and well a year later considering his stroke and his wife now takes colloidal silver whenever she gets cold/flu symptoms so she can continue to care for her husband. Their son, an army medical doctor, believes that the colloidal silver saved his father’s life and now recommends it to his patients.

  83. Jill Jackson says:

    Apparently, there is technology out there that can destroy C.diff contamination in hospitals. Dr. Donskey published results from an extended study he performed at the Cleveland VA Hospital. He used a machine that produces high levels of UV germicidal light to clean all the surfaces and all the air in a room. If it is really that simple to eliminate C diff from the hospital room environment, why isn’t this used everywhere? If you want a copy of the study, I downloaded it from

  84. joker says:

    C-diff has a promising new treatment: poo enemas from a family member! Don’t believe me, just google it.

  85. Ginger Parker says:

    I also had cdif.This is a horrible thing to deal with along with having surgery.I was put on Flagal as well as an expensive antiobiottic for months.This drains the life out of you .Never mind what it does to your rectum area going to the bathroom every 5 minutes.It got so bad for me I was bleeding.
    Another disease I have picked up is MRSA a staph infection that affects your entire body.YOu get these red pimples all over your body that break form a scab but will not heal .I have been dealing with this for a year & a half.I am not well so I have spent a lot of time in the hospital& i don’t leave the house.My husband has now contacted it from me.When I was told I had it by a blood test,the hospital did nothing about it so hear I am .Read about it & be very careful going into hospitals for anything .Also be aware that those hand sanitizers does not kill it on the nurses & docs hands that they use.My body is a mess & scared now every where.I wash with hibaclense that is suppose to keep this down & use antiseptics on my open soars.I am so upset over this mess.I am also disabled with spinal stenosis.I can’t walk very far & I am in severe pain 24/7.I go for injections in my back & neck every (3) months so I know i got it in the hospital.Please be very careful going to a hospital make sure they wash their hands & ware gloves even if you are going for blood work never mind surgery,

  86. bette says:

    I didnt get my cdiff from antibiotics but instead somewhere in the hosp while getting numerous test for cancer. i laid on many tables used many bathrooms. ended up in hospital for 7 days with severe diahrea and pain.. then ended up with mrsa. two weeks later i was back in the hosp for cancer surgery and felt lucky to get out alive. i had c diff for 7 months the worst seven months of my life, worse then my cancer. i was on vanco and probiotics for 7 months.the last month they did dosing which seem to help. i will take probiotics the rest of my life. i am so afraid it will come back because according to what I researched it often returns. wish me luck.

  87. virginia says:

    Check out cnn health for info on how a hospital in CA eradicated C-Diff. This hospital has not had one case of illness since they implemented a cleaning program to get rid of it. They cleaned everything in every room and used new mops, brooms and buckets because the infectious control specialist said using mops or buckets that are contaminated just spread the illness. They have not had one person become ill with C-Diff in over a year so it is possible to clean up and prevent its spread.

    1. April Romero says:

      can’t find it on cnn health

  88. Denise says:

    FYI, Align is not the only probiotic out there. Check out a local healthfood store for a wonderful assortment of probiotics to meet any need. Probiotics have been in healthfood stores for years! I find it appalling that doctors put people on antibiotics for EVERYTHING and neglect to tell their patients to take a high round of probiotice afterwards to replace the friendly bacteria destroyed by the antibiotic. Because of this people go round and round with illnesses.

  89. Chris says:

    The Hospitals are responsible for the bills. Insurance now moves to a capitated pay for admission rate. Anything that prolongs the stay or adds to the bills are not covered. Administration is very aggressive with avoiding this in the hospital i work at. The issue is that the bugs like this one are so SO easily transmitted that even a little slip in protocol can be enough to cause transmission to someone else — RN in Mass.

  90. Peggy says:

    Just and FYI people. It seems there may be a link between the overuse of proton pump inhibitors that may be contributing to a rise in these infections as well and fractures. Your immune system is in your gut. These drugs change the gut flora and may be contributing to these super bacterial infections taking hold. Please do some research. These drugs for reflux are being prescribed for long term use and they were never approved for that.

  91. nocfos says:

    C. diff is a naturally occurring bacteria that EVERYONE has in their intestines. It becomes a problem when antibiotics kill off the good intestinal bacteria that keep c. diff in check. Severe infections are more common now than they were 10 or 20 years ago because of the increased amounts of preventative and growth enhancing antibiotics that are fed to animals which are processed for food. Rather than limit the what types of antibiotics can be fed to farmed animals and when they can be used, the solution to this problem will be to sell everyone MORE high-priced antibiotics to treat the c. diff. But hey, that’s the essence of capitalism, right? Create a need, and then fill it.

  92. sheila smith says:

    I too had an operation in 2008 and contracted c-diff. . after a year and a half of being on antibiotics, i looked into having a fecal transplant. i had this done by an amazing woman doctor in R.I. a year and a half ago and walked out free from c-diff.. Probiotics did nothing for me. if anyone wants the name of the doctor i will be happy to provide. At that time no doctor in Mass was doing this. IT WORKS

  93. Ruth Carrico says:

    As a board certified infection preventionist, I frequently work with healthcare facilities on methods to control C. difficile transmission and outbreaks. Creating and maintaining a hygienic environment is everyone’s responsibility. This means that everyone from hospital staff to patients must be involved. Patients should be enabled to practice good hand hygiene and know that it is within their rights to remind personnel to do so as well. Healthcare personnel must be ready and able to implement preventive activities as part of routine practice.

    Facilities should consider how they incorporate disinfection practices that address C. difficile in the healthcare environment. If facilities intend to use a 1:10 hypochlorite (bleach solution) as their routine environmental cleaning and disinfection process for all rooms when C. diff is present, or when an outbreak has been identified, they should have clear processes in place to ensure that actual practice aligns with expected practice.

    C. difficile infection is certainly not new, but its capability to cause severe illness has changed. Care processes must be designed so early recognition, attention to environmental cleanliness, hand hygiene, and adherence with isolation precautions are all part of usual practice.

  94. Debbi says:

    Almost one year ago, my Mom had knee replacement and ended up contracting C-Diff. I am still amazed on how nonchallant the staff at the hospital was about this disease..Even after Mom was diagnosed, most of our information had to be found by our own research. The hospital staff and the doctors need to take more of an effort to educate people on this deadly disease..They also need to make sure they are always up to date with the most current breakthroughs and information on C Diff. I get angry when I think about Florida Hospital Flagler, and its laid back staff…See, my Mom was not one of the lucky ones…she passed away due to this infection. I will always remember the time the nurse changed her soiled bedding and placed the chucks folded up into the regular room trash can…One would think it should go into the Hazardous Waste can?? I can only hope the hospitals will take a stand and develop a NO TOLERANCE policy towards care givers being anything less than 100% efficient in the cleaning and handling of admitted patients..This just may cut down the risk of spreading this killer infection!!

  95. Barb says:

    Our 87 year old mother was admitted to one of the world’s best hospitals in Boston with an infection in her toe. Within 48 hrs. she had contracted a staph infection and treated with IV antibiotics for 5 days. She was then transferred to a rehab with 5 days of oral antibiotics. (All the while complaining of diarrhea) The day after the antibiotics were stopped she became ill with a fever, chills and severe diarrhea. The rehab told us it was a stomach virus that needed to run its course. Within 48 hrs. she was transferred back to this prominent hospital for follow-up care. After 16 hrs. in the ER it was determined that she had contracted C-Diff and they started her on more antibiotics. Four hours later we were notified that they were losing her. She had an immediate ileoscopy/colonoscopy at 9am this morning. She went to this prominent hospital for an infected toe and will leave with a life-changing tragedy. While her family is thankful that she has pulled through thus far we are confused, frustrated and very angry. More media attention is needed about C-Diff. We don’t want to see more families go through this nightmare. If you or a loved one is facing a hospital stay please, please direct ANY person that is caring for you to wash their hands before the enter your room.

  96. ev says:

    My husband died from C-Diff at Harbor U.C.L.A. Medical Hospital exactly 3 months after being diagnosed with Cancer. It wasn’t the cancer that killed him, it was the C-diff infection he contracted while being treated at the hospital. Even after he was infected with c-diff he was never put in isolation. He was put in a couple of I.C.U. rooms with at least 6 beds with patients, visitors and hospital staff going in and out, and at times the hospital staff would not wear protective garments. I even complained a few days before his death, because one nurse was moving him around in his bed with no gloves on, only her bare hands. On his death certificate they put Septic Shock as cause of death.

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  99. gs says:

    I contracted C. difficile when hospitalized for a mastectomy two years ago. It only came to light a year later, however, when an endodontist prescribed clindamycin for me, following repair of a failed root canal. When I developed a full-blown pseudomembranous colitis and C. difficile was confirmed by culture, I was given metronidazole (Flagyl), but after a brief period of relief, had a recurrence. (I was also placed on the BRAT diet [bananas, rice, applesauce, toast], and remained on it for >6 months.) I was next given vancomycin (at $2,000 per course) and, shortly thereafter, the C. difficile recurred again. (It should be noted that the only drugs effective against C. difficile [metronidazole, vancomycin, fidaxomicin] have an extremely high failure rate compared to that of most drugs.) After a second course of vancomycin, I was referred to a gastroenterologist who did another culture, discovered I was still producing toxins, and prescribed a third course of vancomycin, as well as instructing me on sanitizing my entire house with a 25% Clorox solution, telling me to take Align daily (I had been taking a different probiotic since the onset of my C. difficile) and instructing me to eat Activia yogurt daily (I had been doing that since the outset anyway, but upped my intake). I found that our local small-town family doctors knew virtually nothing about C. difficile, about its treatment, about appropriate diet, or about prevention of its spread. They could not advise me as to what foods to eat and which to avoid (avoid sugar, alcohol, fat, all dairy and most wheat products, as well as most vegetables/fruits [anything high in fiber]). In our local small-town clinic, soap/water handwashing has been supplanted by hand sanitizer (a dispenser is now mounted on the wall of each examination room). Whenever I visit the clinic, I request that my physician wash his hands with soap and water. I am also preparing a draft for a possible patient hand-out I intend to suggest that will instruct patients on sanitizing (wipe everything you touch with 25% bleach solution [light switches, banisters, door frames, keyboards, phones, remote controls, etc.] and do it frequently; wipe down the toilet lid/seat every time you use it), diet (no sugar, no fat, no alcohol, no fiber), proper laundry habits (bleach all towels, bedding, and underwear; do the patient’s laundry separately from that of other family members, and never mix such items as dishtowels and underwear), etc. Recently I had to have oral surgery (the same tooth that started this whole mess) and take a 10-day course of antibiotics, but the oral surgeon consulted with my gastroenterologist about which antibiotics to avoid, and thus far (that was six weeks ago) I haven’t had a recurrence of the C. difficile. I was greatly relieved to read the comments made by others concerning the extreme fatigue they felt after their struggle with C. difficile. I was so weak and without energy (for a very long time) that I had become severely depressed, thinking this was likely to be a permanent state. However, it is now almost a year since my initial illness, and I am beginning to recover some of my old pep and energy. The C. difficile organism’s most virulent new mutation is present in my state (and 37 others) and people are dying of it, yet physicians and hospitals here seem virtually unaware of the disorder. At one point, I became so frustrated with my family care physician that I asked him, “Have you never seen a case of C. difficile before?” “Yes,” he answered, “but never anything like this.” Yet I believe my case was likely quite typical. I have read of case after case (anecdotal reports) that began with the prescription of clindamycin. I truly question whether this drug should even be on the market in light of the “explosion” of C. difficile cases following its use — but dentists seem to love it. “It’s a good dental drug,” my dentist told me. I am resigned to a life of sanitizing as a normal, routine practice, to eating yogurt several times a day, to keeping my hands away from my mouth, and to constant, never-ending handwashing. I am grateful I’m still alive. The C. difficile suffered by the physician father of my urologist paralleled mine in virtually every aspect, and he didn’t make it. I understand hospitals wanting to “keep a lid on the problem” so as not to frighten patients away, but isn’t it time, in light of the many deaths occurring, that we admitted to having the problem and instruct/warn the public of the danger? Institutional secrecy will only amplify the problem.

  100. MAMAMAMA says:

    I am a CNA in indiana and i was doing research in this because i had heard that a few of the residents have this. i try so hard to keep good hand hygiene and to wear a gown i was told by some just wear gloves, a gown and a mask wont matter well i will admit i had gone in to someones room with out gloves on she only wanted the nurse to give her pain meds so idk on that one but after reading this and a few comments i am going to make sure that i wear my gown, glove and masked and make sure that i wash my hands with the special soap they have before i move on to the next resident. sometimes i dont hae time to wash my hands because some of the nurses i work for can be real b!!ches if i dont move fast enough and they say i need to get down to so and so’s room ASAP and i am half afraid i will get wrote up for taking to long to clean some one up. i am definatly going to make sure i wash my before and after work and in between residents and after taking out the garbage and if i get wrote up for taking to long to clean someone up i will just have to tell my boss i got out of so and so’s room and i wanted my hands clean to protect myself and the next person but mostly myself (as selfish as that sounds but if i get sick then they are understaffed and that puts more stress on the CNA’s and nurses and the other residents suffer)

    1. MAMAMAMA says:

      the persons room i went in to had CDiff or some thing that lasted for 14 days on a surface.

  101. PFH says:

    So I have experienced C-Diff and a recurrence. I had Difficid which is quite expensive and it seems much better. I am taking mega pro biotics – The doc wants to do another colonoscopy and I am petrified of losing the good bacteria and letting c-diff take over again…. I will have have to be convinced that taking any risk is worth it …..

  102. GG says:

    Is there anyone gping through vanco thereapy that can tell me how they are doing on a daily basis now. Today is Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012.

  103. GG says:

    Anyone have any experienxe with prolonged vanco treatment? Today’s date is Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012

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