C Diff Incubation Period – What is your risk?

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The c diff incubation period can be days or years. You may never suffer an active infection even if you become a carrier. But there are risk factors that might make you more vulnerable to an outbreak.

Where might you catch it?

There is evidence that c diff is in the environment. It may also be in the food chain.

Although C difficile has been isolated from soil, food, water, animals, asymptomatic infants, and health care environments, the role of these sources in community C difficile acquisition is not well understood.

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Many of us therefore carry the basic c diff bacteria. We could also catch it when a family member or friend has a C difficile infection outbreak. We can also be exposed to c diff in hospital environments. We might then be concerned about a personal infection and severe illness.


What do we know about a contagious c diff incubation period?

The reality is that most people who are carriers of c diff do not develop an active infection. Even when the c difficile has lodged in the intestine it rarely provokes an infection straight away. The intestine contains many other ‘good’ bacteria that hold it in check. C Diff outbreaks are often provoked by taking antibiotics for other illnesses. This can have the effect of killing the good bacteria and allowing the c difficile to flourish.

Stay vigilant when taking antiobiotics.

If a family member or friend has an active c difficile infection then care with hand hygiene should be taken by all household members. Household members taking antibiotics for other conditions should be particularly vigilant. They will be more vulnerable to a possible infection outbreak.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam in Nevada March 11, 2015 at 8:31 pm

After spending a week with my mother, she was in the hospital with Cdiff. My daughter was also exposed. Can you tell me the point at which we can stop being concerned?

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Infection Watch March 14, 2015 at 6:20 pm

Your highest risk was when you were at her home. You are at low risk for being colonised. If colonised you are only likely to have an infection if on a course of antibiotics at a later date.

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