Clostridioides difficile infection


Clostridioides difficile infection

Clostridioides difficile is a bacterium that causes inflammation and is known to be one of the most common hospital-acquired infections.

Clostridioides difficile

Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) is a bacterium that causes inflammation of the colon. C. difficile infection causes diarrhoea, serious bowel problems (including fever, stomach pain and nausea) and can ultimately be fatal.1

C. difficile infection causes approximately half a million illnesses each year in the US alone.2 It is known to be one of the most common hospital-acquired infections,3,4 and one in 11 people over the age of 65 will die of their healthcare-associated C. difficile infection.

People who have recently taken antibiotics, those over the age of 65 and those in hospital or residential care are among the people most at risk of C. difficile infection.

Clostridioides difficile is on the rise

Antibiotic therapy is the standard treatment following an initial diagnosis of C. difficile. However, with growing concern about antimicrobial resistance,5 new approaches to treating these infections are needed.

Recurring Clostridioides difficile is a healthcare challenge

A challenge in the management of C. difficile infection is that it can reoccur after treatment: cases of recurrence have risen steeply in the last two decades.6

Exploring a microbiome-based approach to preventing recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection

As part of Ferring’s commitment to developing life-changing medicines and helping people live better lives, we are working with our partners to understand the human microbiome and its role in health and disease. We are currently exploring the potential of rehabilitating the gut microbiome to help people to avoid repeated C. difficile infections.


  1. What Is C. diff? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available online at: Last accessed October 2019.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly half a million Americans suffered from Clostridium difficile infections in a single year. Press release. February 25, 2015. Available online at: Last accessed October 2019.
  3. Multistate Point-Prevalence Survey of Health Care–Associated Infections. N Engl J Med 2014; 370:1198-1208
  4. Magill et al. Changes in Prevalence of Health Care–Associated Infections in U.S. Hospitals. N Engl J Med 2018; 379:1732-1744
  5. Antibiotic resistance. World Health Organization. Accessed July 2, 2019.
  6. Ma et al. Increasing Incidence of Multiply Recurrent Clostridium difficile Infection in the United States: A Cohort Study Ann Intern Med. 2017;167(3):152-158.

Discover the human microbiome

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