Deadly diarrhea disease C. difficile infects almost 500,000 in U.S. each year

February 26, 2015 1:31 PM

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Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that causes swelling of the colon and potentially deadly bouts of diarrhea, infects almost half a million people each year and contributes to the deaths of 29,000, according to new research.

In a paper published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers reported that C. difficile-associated deaths had more than doubled since 2007 and that more than 80% of those fatalities involved people 65 or older.

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