Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

C. diff on the Rise Outside the Hospital

Risk Factors for C. diff Include Antibiotic Use and Being Over Age 65

C. diff Risk Factors continued...

Glenn Songer, PhD, of Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ames, is concerned that food may be the source of many unexplained infections.

"We found contamination in 40% of beef, pork, and turkey products we tested. And the C. diff isolates [strains] were the same isolates that cause disease in humans. We have just not yet proven a flow [of C. diff disease] from animals to humans," he says.

Still, the vast majority of cases are spread from human to human. Asked what he does to ensure the food he brings to his table is safe, Singer concedes, "I just go ahead and eat what I want."

That said, he and others are continuing to study farm animals and the food supply and culture samples of retail meats for C. diff.

Patient-to-Doctor Spread of C. diff

Researchers at the meeting reported that patients who have recently recovered from community-acquired C. diff may spread it to doctors and nurses who see them for follow-up visits.

Forty-five percent of gloves worn by health care workers who touched the skin of 35 such patients tested positive for C. diff spores, says Lucy Jury, RN, MSN, a nurse researcher at Louis Stokes Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Cleveland.

In a separate study, Jury and colleagues found that two simple questions -- asking whether a patient has had a C. diff infection and/or has been on broad-spectrum antibiotics within the past three months -- can identify the majority of so-called carriers of C. diff. Carriers don't have symptoms but are shedding spores and can spread the disease.

In the study of 120 nursing patients followed for five months, the two questions correctly identified about three-fourths of carriers.

While nearly one-fourth of cases were missed, "it's the best we have," Jury tells WebMD.

Today on WebMD

man holding his stomach
Get the facts on common problems.
blueberries in a palm
Best and worst foods.
woman shopping
Learn what foods to avoid.
fresh and dried plums
Will it help constipation?
top foods for probiotics
couple eating at cafe
sick child
Woman blowing bubble gum

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Woman with crohns in pain
Woman with stomach pain
diet for diverticulitis
what causes diarrhea