The Promise of Vaccines for Fighting C. difficile

Over the last decade, Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection has rapidly become more prevalent. C. difficile, often abbreviated as C. diff, usually spreads through hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Our society’s overuse of antibiotics has been eliminating normal microbes, allowing C. difficile to take over. Infected patients then release bacterial spores and spread the pathogen to others.

Vaccines are a promising strategy to address this critical public health issue. They are a well-established form of medicine that could be utilized to prevent illness rather than treating an existing infection. While fecal transplants also are being explored, these treatments are very new, and clinicians do not yet know the long-term effects of such procedures. Continue reading