C. Diff Foundation Highlights Latest Advances in the Battle Against the Deadly Pathogen
JANUARY 12, 2017
Dale Gerding, MD
Early decisions in the prevention and treatment of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) can be matters of life and death for patients. In September, researchers, health care workers, and industry and patient advocates convened for the 4th Annual International Raising C. diff Awareness Conference and Health Expo in Atlanta. Clifford McDonald, MD, associate director for Science in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chaired the conference. In his role at the CDC, McDonald’s at the forefront of efforts to prevent and treat the infection – one the CDC has declared among the most urgent drug-resistant threats that we currently face.
“It’s my firm belief that we are on the threshold of a new era in better diagnosis, treatment, and prevention approaches. At the CDC, we deal with statistics, but there are faces behind those numbers. At the heart of every infection is a patient who deserves our competence, our empathy, and our passion,” said McDonald.
One of those faces, Roy Poole, is a volunteer advocate for the C. Diff Foundation. After retiring from a career in the Air Force, Poole led a healthy, active lifestyle as an avid outdoorsman in Colorado before antibiotics prescribed for a routine dental procedure set the stage for CDI. In the medical community, his symptoms were met with disbelief and inappropriate treatment.
“Three weeks after leaving the hospital, I walked into my (previous) primary care physician, and asked for an order to have a stool sample taken to determine if Toxins A or B were present. His response was, ‘Are you still having problems with that?’ Clearly, there is a need for more education about C. diff among physicians,” said Poole.
CDI is a formidable opponent. However, with the newly focused attention on discovering ways to disable the bacteria and cohesive public health approaches aimed at prevention, presenters from government, academia and industry offered five key reasons we can win the battle against C. diff: