Who's most at risk of C. difficile?

C. difficile mostly affects people who:

  • have been treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics (antibiotics that work againstseveral types of bacteria) or several different antibiotics at the same time, or thosetakinglong-term antibiotics
  • have had to stayin a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or care home, for a long time
  • are over 65 years old
  • havecertain underlyingconditions, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) , cancer or kidney disease
  • have a weakened immune system, which can be because of a condition such as diabetes or a side effect of a treatment such as chemotherapy or steroid medication
  • are takinga medication called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to reduce the amount of stomach acid they produce
  • have had surgery on their digestive system

Many C. difficile infections used to occur in places where many people take antibiotics and are in close contact with each other, such as hospitals andcare homes.

However, strict infection control measures have helped to reduce this risk, and an increasingnumber of C. difficile infections now occur outside these settings.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018