Clostridium: A group of anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that thrive in the absence of oxygen). There are 100+ species of Clostridium. They include, for examples, Clostridium difficile, Clostridium perfringens (also called Clostridium welchii), and Clostridium botulinum.
Clostridium difficile is one of the most common causes of infection of the large bowel (the colon) in the US affecting millions of people yearly. Patients taking antibiotics are at risk of becoming infected with C. difficile. Antibiotics disrupt the normal bacteria of the bowel, allowing C. difficile bacteria to become established in the colon. Many persons infected with C.difficile have no symptoms. These people become carriers of the bacteria and can infect others. In other people, a toxin produced by C. difficile causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, severe inflammation of the colon (colitis), fever, an elevated white blood count, vomiting and dehydration. In severely affected patients, the inner lining of the colon becomes severely inflamed (a condition called pseudomembranous colitis). Rarely, the walls of the colon wear away and holes develop (colon perforation), which can lead to a life-threatening infection of the abdomen.
Clostridium perfringens, also known as Clostridium welchii), this is the most common agent of gas gangrene and also causes food poisoning as well as a fulminant form of bowel disease called necrotizing colitis.
Clostridium botulinum is the culprit responsible for the food poisoning and other problems associated with botulism.
- Clostridium botulinum
Clostridium botulinum: A group of gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria commonly found in the soil that grow best in anaerobic (in the absence of oxygen) conditions. The bacteria form heat-resistant spores which allow them to survive in a dormant state until exposed to conditions that can support their growth. Clostridium botulinum produces botulinum toxin, a highly potent […]
- Clostridium difficile
Clostridium difficile: A bacterium that is one of the most common causes of infection of the colon in the US. Patients taking antibiotics are at risk of becoming infected with C. difficile as antibiotics can disrupt the normal bacteria of the bowel, allowing C. difficile to become established in the colon. In some people, a […]
- Clostridium perfringens
Clostridium perfringens: A bacterium that is the most common cause of gas gangrene, a lethal infection of soft tissue, especially muscle. C. perfringens bacteria are toxin- and gas-producing bacteria. Before the introduction of antibiotics, a significant percentage of battlefield injuries were complicated by gas gangrene. C. perfringens also causes food poisoning and a fulminant form […]
- Clot-dissolving medication
Clot-dissolving medication: An agent such as plasminogen-activator (t-PA) or streptokinase that is effective in dissolving clots and reopening arteries. For example, clot-dissolving medications may be used in the treatment of heart attacks, to reestablish blood flow to the heart muscle (myocardium). Also known as thrombolytic agents.
Clotbuster: An informal term for a drug that can dissolve a clot. See: Thrombolytic agent.