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Outside the Lab Training and education, Profession

Why Didn’t They Teach This in Med School?

Clostridioides difficile

An intestinal pathogen previously known as Clostridium difficile.

Medical students have been taught for many years that Clostridium difficile is the most common cause of pseudomembranous colitis. Not anymore! 16sRNA molecular biology studies have shown conclusively that C. diff is actually not a Clostridium at all. A proposal to rename the pathogen Peptoclostridium difficile prompted an avalanche of complaints from the global medical community, including the calculations of the cost of the name change. As a compromise, the bug was ultimately dubbed Clostridioides difficile, allowing traditionalists to continue abbreviating it C. diff and using the acronym CDAD, which now stands for “Clostridioides difficile-associated diarrhea.”

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About the Author

Ivan Damjanov

Ivan Damjanov is Professor Emeritus of Pathology at the University of Kansas, Kansas City, USA.

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