A species of bacteria that lives harmlessly in the gut of many people. In the gut’s microbial community, there is a balance between the “good” bacteria (beneficial) and potentially harmful ones (pathogenic). Problems begin when an imbalance occurs, often due to antibiotic treatment. If the quantity of C. difficile increases greatly, a variety of symptoms can arise, ranging from diarrhoea to inflammation of the colon.

C. difficile infections generally affect patients who have recently undergone antibiotic treatment or who are in hospitals or long-term care facilities. Faecal microbiota transplant (FMT) is being studied as a possible treatment for recurrent C. difficile infections. Some probiotics may prevent the occurrence of C. difficile in hospitalized adult patients who are treated with antibiotics.