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J Clin Gastroenterol. 1993 Jan;16(1):26-30.

Role of infectious agents in exacerbations of ulcerative colitis in India. A study of Clostridium difficile.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.


Fifty patients with idiopathic ulcerative colitis--25 with acute exacerbation of the disease (Group I) and 25 in quiescent phase (Group II)--were studied. None of the patients had a history of recent exposure to antimicrobial drugs or hospitalization. Evidence of infection with protozoal and bacterial agents and/or presence of Clostridium difficile toxin was demonstrated in eight (32%) patients in group I and one (4%) patient in group II (group I vs. group II, p < 0.05; chi 2 test with Yate's correction). In five of the six patients with demonstrable Clostridium difficile toxin in the stool, one patient with Entamoeba trophozoites, and another with Salmonella infection, the exacerbation responded clinically and endoscopically to specific antimicrobial therapy. Another two patients who had Entamoeba histolytica cysts in the stool had no change in their clinical status with metronidazole. We conclude that infectious agents are responsible for some of the exacerbations in patients of ulcerative colitis in a tropical country like India, where careful microbiologic examination is in order in every acute exacerbation of this disease. This contrasts with the findings in developed countries.

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