Study finds superbug Clostridium difficile can be transmitted between pigs and people

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A study of samples of the superbug Clostridium difficile from 14 Danish pig farms found multiple antibiotic resistance genes shared between pig and human patients, spreading for animals (transmitting zoonotic diseases) Provides evidence for the possibility of human beings. Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that infects the human gut, is resistant to all but three of the existing antibiotics. Some strains contain genes that allow them to produce toxins that can cause devastating inflammation in the gut, leading to life-threatening diarrhea, mostly in older and hospitalized patients who have been treated with antibiotics. C. difficile is considered one of the greatest threats to antibiotic resistance in the United States, causing an estimated 223,900 infections and 12,800 deaths in 2017, with healthcare costs exceeding $1 billion. A highly virulent strain of C. difficile that can cause more severe disease (ribotype 078; RT078) and its major sequence type 11 (ST11) have been associated with increased numbers of infections in young and healthy individuals in the community. Farm animals were recently identified as a repository for RT078.

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