CDAD is the acronym for the medical condition called Clostridium Difficile Associated Disease caused by the bacterium C. difficile. In people with this condition, a bacterium that yields two exotoxins infects the body. These two exotoxins are identified as toxin A and B, or enterotoxin and cytotoxin.
The condition is usually associated with diarrhea and other threatening intestinal problems, such as colitis. Colitis is a digestive disease characterized by inflammation of the colon. It results in tenderness, pain, bleeding, and fever.
The bacterium that causes CDAD is anaerobic and spore forming, which means that it does not require oxygen to grow and to survive. As a result, this bacterium can easily infect a person’s body. The bacteria are commonly found in the feces of people who suffer from the disease. Therefore, CDAD can easily be acquired if a person touches areas contaminated with feces and then puts a hand to his or her mouth or mucous membranes.
Individuals who overuse antibiotics are at a greater risk of developing CDAD. Those at risk also include users of drugs manufactured for stomach ulcers and those who have undergone cytotoxic chemotherapy. CDAD is most commonly found in the elderly, and some home health care providers have been known to spread the disease among patients. To avoid the spread of CDAD, hands should be washed often as possible, particularly when caring for an infected patient.
Some symptoms of a CDAD infection include watery diarrhea three times a day for a few days, fever, appetite loss, nausea, and abdominal pain. Mild cases can be treated if the patient is no longer taking antibiotics for other purposes. Serious cases, on the other hand, may cause dehydration and fatal complications. In such cases, CDAD must be treated with medicine or surgery.
Nearly 70% of individuals who become infected with CDAD survive the infection. It can lead to a condition known as megacolon, however, in which the lower gastrointestinal tract becomes abnormally dilated. If this occurs, it can be fatal.