Public Health and Primary CareClinical Practice

Why Does Infection Recur?

Robert Orenstein, DO; Roberto L. Patron, MD; and M. Teresa Seville, MD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: December 3, 2018

Accepted: January 2, 2019

Published: May 1, 2019

J Osteopath Med; 119(5): 322-326

Clostridium (or Clostridioides) difficile infection affects more than 500,000 people annually in the United States, one-third of whom have recurrent symptoms. The evolution of C difficile as a resilient pathogen has to do with its ability to persist in the environment and in the host, leading to recurrence and environmental spread. Understanding the mechanisms by which this microbe interacts with the environment, the host, and the gut microbiota are critical to solving this problem. This article presents a brief clinical vignette; discusses the current state of understanding of colonization, transmission, and recurrence; and considers the role the host plays in eliminating this infection. The understanding of these mechanisms and application of osteopathic principles has the potential to improve patient outcomes.

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