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Deadly diarrhea disease C. difficile infects almost 500,000 in U.S. each year
Deadly diarrhea disease C. difficile infects almost 500,000 in U.S. each year

Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that causes swelling of the colon and potentially deadly bouts of diarrhea, infects almost half a million people each year and contributes to the deaths of 29,000, according to new research. In a paper published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers reported that C. difficile-associated deaths had more than doubled since 2007 and that more than 80% of those fatalities involved people 65 or older. The bacterium most commonly infects patients in healthcare settings -- inpatient and outpatient -- after they have been prescribed broad-spectrum antibiotics. These drugs not only kill harmful germs, but they also kill...

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