450,000 people are battling an infection known as C. diff, Clostridium Difficile Infection. Approximately 30,000 people die from this each year in the United States alone. The infection hits close to home for me, as one of my close relatives battled two rounds of the infection in the summer and fall of 2016.
What is C. diff? It is an infection that causes life-threatening diarrhea. Antibiotics are the typical treatment for C-Difficile. For those battling with the unruly infection, it is life altering due to the constant fear of having to go to the bathroom. The stress alone of having an “emergency” is enough to put anyone over the edge.
The infection is not widely discussed, and many have never heard of it. Yet, twelve percent of all hospital acquired infections are C. Diff. Reoccurring C. diff happens as a result of antibiotics killing off the good bacteria in the colon, allowing the C. diff bacteria to multiply and get out of control. Many people carry C. diff spores, however never get sick due to their good bacteria being in check.
Doctor Matthew Sims, M.D., PhD, Director of Infectious Disease Research at Beaumont Hospital, believes oral vancomycin can keep the C. diff in check when the good bacteria is killed by other antibiotics and should prevent the patient from becoming sick. Dr. Sims was awarded a $2.4 million grant to study his theory that could prevent thousands of C. difficile infections and deaths all over the world.
The StoP CDI study will test this idea in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. If successful in demonstrating that vancomycin can prevent the disease, the research could save thousands of lives, stop tens of thousands of infections, and save millions of health care dollars.
Source: Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine