Med. Weter. 68 (8), 451-455, 2012

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Truszczyński M., Pejsak Z.
Pathogenicity of Clostridium difficile in humans and animals in the assessment of eventual connections
The paper reviews literature concerning Clostridium (C.) difficile. The properties and its role in the etiology and pathogenesis of the disease in humans and animals including food animals, companion animals and laboratory animals is presented. The importance of toxin A and toxin B in the pathogenicity of C. difficile is stressed. The major risk factor in provoking diarrhea is the use of antibiotics, particularly in hospitalized patients with increasing age, in the presence in the intestinal flora of C. difficile. Besides antibiotics, other conditions that may affect the intestinal flora are also favoring the development of the disease caused by C. difficile. The disease likewise occurs outside the hospital. As an etiological agent with a pathogenesis similar to that mentioned in humans, during the last years C. difficile is increasingly recognized in animals, as well. It is the most important cause of neonatal diarrhea in swine in some regions of the world. C. difficile infection in foals and mature horses may vary from a mild disease with diarrhea to a life-threatening disease. C. difficile has proved to be pathogenic for dogs and cats. According to the cited literature, while the transmission of C. difficile from animals to humans does take place, zoonotic activity of strains originating from animals has not been demonstrated.
Key words: Clostridium difficile, antibiotic associated diarrhea, similarities and differences between humans and animals