Clostridium spp. is part of the intestinal indigenous microbiota and they can produce several endogenous infections.
Clostridium is a genus of bacteria that includes over one hundred distinct species, many of which are abundant and normal inhabitants (commensal) of the human gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Most of the Clostridium species are not virulent and can even have beneficial effects on health and integrity of the GIT in part by breakdown of polysaccharides and fermentation of carbohydrates to short chain fatty acids. However a few species are well-established opportunistic pathogens that produce specific toxins that cause diseases such as food-borne illnesses and, antibiotic-associated diarrhea and pseudomembranous colitis. Some species of Clostridium have been associated with neurological disorders and are the subject of ongoing research. Due to the biodiversity within the Clostridium genus it may be helpful to identify the prevalence of specific Clostridium species that are transiently or permanently present in the GIT of symptomatic patients.
The genus Clostridium includes two serious human pathogens:
1. C.botulinum produces the toxin that causes botulism, which occurs primarily from food poisoning but can also result from wounds or injecting street drugs with infected needles.
2. C.difficile, a normal part of the gut bacteriome, can cause severe diarrhea and abdominal pain when the balance of normal bacteria is impacted. C. difficile is disrupted by taking antibiotics. The elderly or those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Colorectal cancer are at a greater risk of developing a C. difficile infection.
Both higher and lower abundance of Clostridium has been observed in Irritable Bowel Disease.
Higher Clostridium counts and increased number of Clostridium species have been reported in people with autism.
Both higher and lower abundance of Clostridium has been observed in Irritable Bowel Disease (IBS).
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