March 23, 2018
by Kit

Written by Angela Kelly

Risk for C. diff Infection as High as 20% in Patients with Cancer

C. diff is the most common cause of healthcare-associated infection; patients with cancer have two times the risk of experiencing a C. diff infection. Some factors which contribute to this raised risk include increased exposure to antibiotics, age, immunodeficiency (due to cancer/chemotherapy), and frequent hospitalizations. Chemotherapy disrupts the “microbiome and causes mucositis which may render germination of C. difficile spores more prevalent, leading to greater virulence.” CDI rates in each round of chemotherapy range between five and nine percent. Overall, five to 20% of cancer patients will experience a C. diff infection.

Metabolite possible treatment for C. diff Infections

A study out of UCLA of experimental drug CSA13 has shown promise in treating C. diff infections. In mice, the drug was shown to increase “levels of four protective metabolites—molecules that help fuel, maintain and mediate cells. Compared with mice that did not receive CSA13, the mice treated with the drug were significantly more likely to survive the infection, had lower rates of weight loss and—after the treatment was stopped—were less likely to have a relapse of the infection.” “The findings suggest metabolite therapy warrants further research as a possible treatment for C. difficile infection in humans.”

Antibiotics often Inappropriately Prescribed for Hospitalized Kids

According to The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, “nearly a third of all antibiotics prescribed for hospitalized children globally were intended to prevent potential infections rather than to treat disease.” Targets for reducing unnecessary prescriptions of antibiotics “include reducing prolonged, preventive antibiotic use before surgery, limiting the use of broad-spectrum and combinations of antibiotics, and reducing antibiotic use, overall, for prophylactic rather than therapeutic use.”

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