Fresno: Gregory Gardner thought his father was out of the woods after a successful colon cancer operation until a five-month battle with the infection c-diff took his life. "It left a big empty space," Gardner told Ivanhoe.
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Fighting Hospital Infections 3/5/10
MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, are bacteria that can't be treated with common antibiotics. They are often harmless as they ride on the skin, but become deadly once they get in the bloodstream. They enter through wounds, intravenous lines and other paths.
C-diff, also resistant to some antibiotics, is found in the colon and can cause diarrhea and a more serious intestinal condition known as colitis. It is spread by spores in feces. The spores are difficult to kill with most conventional household cleaners or alcohol-based hand sanitizers, so some of the disinfection measures against MRSA don't work on C-diff.
Study: Lesser-known bug a bigger hospital threat 3/20/10
Many of you will recognize Clostridium. The clostridium genus is one of those groups of bacteria that has been kicking Homo sapiens' butts for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of years. Gas gangrene, tetanus, and food poisoning (botulinism) are all deadly diseases caused by this group of nasties.
There are two traits of this genus that are particularly important with respect to land-application of BS. The first is that these organisms are all obligate anaerobes, which means that not only do they not require oxygen to survive, but oxygen is toxic to them. When exposed to oxygen, as when they enter the sewage stream and aeration processes of sewage treatment systems, they hunker down into survival mode.
The second BS-related trait of C. difficile, and all clostridia, is that survival mode means forming spores. These spores are called "endospores". A number of bacteria can form endospores, and they are, in general, pretty scary. For instance, it was anthrax endospores that killed 5 people in the 2001 anthrax attack.
Within the context of Clostridium and land-applied BS, endospores are as scary as Jason, the guy in the horror movies with the hockey mask, because, like Jason, endospores keep coming back. You almost can't kill them. One researcher has referred to them as the most durable form of life known. Endospores are resistant to UV radiation, boiling, extreme pH, and chemical disinfectants -- precisely the kinds of "treatments" that are applied to raw sewage sludge to convert it into . . .ha, ha, ha, . . . "biosolids." Yeah. When you make biosolids, you are making clostridial endospores. Whenever you have C. difficile flushed down a toilet -- and that is happening virtually constantly in a moderately sized city -- you are sending to the waste-treatment plant bacteria that will become the endospores in the BS that is spread on the farmers' land. Hospitals are huge sources of C. difficile.
Virginia is for Sludgers 5/2008