Updated 04 July 2014

Deadly bacteria largely transmitted outside hospitals

A new study suggests that transmission of Clostridium difficile mostly does not take place in a hospital setting, as was previously assumed.

A new British study raises questions about the transmission of Clostridium difficile, bacteria that cause life-threatening diarrhoea in people who have recently been on antibiotics.

"Unexpectedly few cases – 13% – appear to be acquired from direct ward-based contact with other symptomatic cases," said study co-author David Eyre, a research microbiologist at Oxford University's experimental medicine division. "These have previously been thought to be the main source of infections, and the focus of prevention efforts."

Other sources of infection

Highly genetically diverse


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