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C. difficile - An intestinal germ with pathogenic potential

FAQ of BfR of 20 July 2023

Clostridioides (C.) difficile is a bacterium that can colonise the human intestine without caus-ing symptoms. However, it can also cause infections associated with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, if the bacterial community in the human intestine has been disturbed. Therefore, most C. difficile infections occur in connection with antibiotic therapy and/or hospitalisation. In recent years, C. difficile infections, which occurred independently of these known risk factors, have been increasingly reported in Germany. Possible causes include contaminated food and contact with livestock.

C. difficile occurs everywhere in the environment and in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals. Therefore, in principle, several transmission routes are conceivable. Here, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has compiled questions and answers on C. difficile and its significance along the food chain. Further information on medical questions is available from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).



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