US Pharm. 2011;36(11):16.

Melbourne, Australia — An international team of scientists led by Monash University researchers has discovered how a common hospital bacterium becomes a deadly superbug that kills increasing numbers of patients worldwide and accounts for $3.2 billion annually in U.S. health care costs. The team has linked a naturally occurring mutation in the microorganism Clostridium difficile to severe, debilitating diarrhea in hospital patients undergoing antibiotic therapy. The antibiotics destroy the gut’s good bacteria, allowing C difficile to colonize the colon and cause tough-to-treat bowel infections. The mutation wipes out an built-in disease regulator, antisigma factor TcdC, producing hypervirulent C difficile strains that are resistant to antibiotics.

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