Dissemination of : K. Warriner et al.Clostridium difficile: K. Warriner et al. in food and the environment: Significant sources of : K. Warriner et al.C. difficile: K. Warriner et al. community-acquired infection?: K. Warriner et al.

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Clostridium difficile is a significant pathogen with over 300 000 cases reported in North America annually. Previously, it was thought that C. difficile was primarily a clinically associated infection. However, through the use of whole genome sequencing it has been revealed that the majority of cases are community acquired. The source of community-acquired C. difficile infections (CDI) is open to debate with foodborne being one route considered. Clostridium difficile fits the criteria of a foodborne pathogen with respect to being commonly encountered in a diverse range of foods that includes meat, seafood and fresh produce. However, no foodborne illness outbreaks have been directly linked to C. difficile there is also no conclusive evidence that its spores can germinate in food matrices. This does not exclude food as a potential vehicle but it is likely that the pathogen is also acquired through zoonosis and the environment. The most significant factor that defines susceptibility to CDI is the host microbiome and functioning immune system. In this respect, effective control can be exercised by reducing the environmental burden of C. difficile along with boosting the host defences against the virulent enteric pathogen.

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