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Br J Biomed Sci. 2008;65(1):39-44.

Clostridium difficile: from obscurity to superbug.

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  • Anaerobe Reference Laboratory, National Public Health Service for Wales Microbiology, Cardiff, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XW, UK. brazier@cardiff.ac.uk


According to the UK media and popular press, Clostridium difficile is now a fully fledged member of that notorious but ill-defined group of microorganisms portrayed to the general public as superbugs. Following the trail blazed by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), C. difficile has made the transition from being an obscure anaerobic bacterium, mainly of interest to specialist anaerobic microbiologists, to that of an infamous superbug responsible for outbreaks of hospital-acquired infection that commonly result in serious disease and death. This review tracks the rise in scientific knowledge and public awareness of this organism.

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