BIOS242 Pathogen Essay

BIOS242 Pathogen Essay

BIOS242 Pathogen Essay

Clostridium Deficille

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Clostridium Deficille

The publication titled Clostridium difficile: Investigating Transmission Patterns Between Infected and Colonized Patients Using Whole Genome Sequencing aimed to investigate the transmission patterns of Clostridium difficile in a hospital setting. The study utilized whole-genome sequencing to analyze the genetic relatedness of C. difficile strains isolated from infected and colonized patients over a six-month period. The study shows that transmission of C. difficile occurred between infected and colonized patients, with a high degree of genetic relatedness between the strains isolated from these patients (Kong et al., 2019).  The article further shows the importance of implementing infection control measures to prevent the spread of C. difficile in healthcare settings.


Morphology and Gram Stain Characteristics of Clostridioides Difficile

Clostridioides difficile is a Gram-positive, anaerobic, spore-forming bacterium. The bacterium is rod-shaped, with a length of approximately 4-7 µm and a diameter of 0.4-1.2 µm. C. difficile forms spores that are oval-shaped and measure 1.2-1.5 µm in diameter (Mada & Alam, 2023). C. difficile spores have an outer spore coat and an inner membrane that encases the spore. The spore coat is composed of several proteins, including CotA, CotB, and CotE, which are involved in spore formation and resistance to environmental stressors. Clostridioides difficile is a Gram-positive bacterium, thus stains purple in a Gram stain test due to the presence of a thick peptidoglycan layer in the cell wall that retains the crystal violet stain used in the test. The purple stain is then retained after washing with a decolorizing agent and counterstaining with safranin.

 Virulence Factors

Clostridioides difficile produces virulence factors associated with its pathogenicity and allows the bacterium to colonize and infect the intestinal tract, leading to the development of C. difficile-associated disease. The main virulence factors of C. difficile are Toxins A and B, that cause damage to the host cells by disrupting the cytoskeleton and inducing inflammation (Buddle & Fagan, 2023). Binary toxin is another virulent factor that causes actin condensation and cell rounding, leading to cytotoxicity and cell death in the host. A third virulent factor is Adhesins, whereby C. difficile produces adhesins that allow the bacterium to attach to host cells and form biofilms, including surface layer proteins and fibronectin-binding proteins. C. difficile forms highly resistant spores that allow the bacterium to survive in the environment and resist disinfection (Buddle & Fagan, 2023). Spores can also facilitate the transmission of the bacterium from person to person.

Susceptibility To Antibiotics

Clostridioides difficile can exhibit variable susceptibility to antibiotics, and antibiotic use is a major risk factor for the development of C. difficile-associated disease (CDAD), according to Trindade et al. (2019). The bacterium has the ability to form spores that are highly resistant to environmental stressors, including many commonly used disinfectants and antibiotics. As a result, C. difficile can persist in the hospital environment and can be difficult to eradicate once an outbreak occurs. Antibiotics that are commonly associated with the development of CDAD include clindamycin, fluoroquinolones, and cephalosporins. These antibiotics disrupt the normal gut flora, allowing C. difficile to overgrow and produce toxins that cause CDAD. Other antibiotics, such as metronidazole and vancomycin, are commonly used for the treatment of CDAD. The susceptibility of C. difficile to antibiotics can vary depending on the strain and the specific antibiotic used. Resistance to metronidazole and vancomycin has been reported in some strains of C. difficile, although these antibiotics remain the mainstays of treatment for CDAD. Implementing infection control measures, such as hand hygiene and environmental cleaning, is also crucial for preventing the transmission of C. difficile in healthcare settings.

Host Cells

Clostridioides difficile primarily infects the colon as an opportunistic pathogen that colonizes the GIT of humans, particularly in patients who have received antibiotic treatment (Mada & Alam, 2023). The bacterium infects the host’s intestinal epithelial cells, causing severe diarrhea, colitis, and pseudomembranous colitis.

Nutritional Needs and Growth Conditions

  1. difficile is an obligate anaerobe and thus cannot grow in the presence of oxygen. The bacterium is dependent on the availability of specific nutrients, such as amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, for growth. C. difficile utilizes a wide range of carbon sources, including glucose, lactate, and amino acids. The optimal growth conditions for C. difficile are neutral to slightly acidic pH, 37-42°C, and low redox potential (Mada & Alam, 2023).

Mechanisms Used To Evade The Immune System And Invasion Into The Host

One of the primary mechanisms for evading the host immune system is the production of toxins A and B, which damage the host cells and induce inflammation (Schnizlein & Young, 2022). The toxins disrupt the cytoskeleton and tight junctions of the intestinal epithelial cells, leading to increased permeability and inflammation. C. difficile can also form biofilms on the intestinal epithelial cells, allowing it to persist in the gut and resist host defenses. In addition, C. difficile also modulates the host immune response, promoting a pro-inflammatory response that exacerbates tissue damage and disease. The bacterium can also suppress the host’s innate immune response, allowing it to evade host defenses and establish persistent infection.

Diseases Caused and Affected Body Systems

Clostridioides difficile infection causes gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. In severe cases, it can lead to complications such as pseudomembranous colitis, toxic megacolon, and sepsis (Mada & Alam, 2023). Even though gastrointestinal symptoms are the most common site of infection, C.defficile can also lead to systemic inflammation and affect the immune response, resulting in sepsis or multi-organ failure.


Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) most common symptoms are Watery diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, and dehydration (Mada & Alam, 2023).


The diagnosis of CDI entails testing for the presence of C. difficile toxins in stool samples using the enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for C. difficile toxins A and B (Mada & Alam, 2023).


CDI is a significant healthcare-associated infection affecting millions of people globally. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, there were an estimated 223,900 cases of CDI and 12,800 deaths associated with CDI in 2017 (Mada & Alam, 2023). CDI is most commonly associated with antibiotic use, particularly in healthcare settings, where the transmission can occur through contact with contaminated surfaces or healthcare workers.


Buddle, J. E., & Fagan, R. P. (2023). Pathogenicity and virulence of Clostridioides difficile. Virulence, 14(1), 2150452.

Kong, L. Y., Eyre, D. W., Corbeil, J., Raymond, F., Walker, A. S., Wilcox, M. H., Crook, D. W., Michaud, S., Toye, B., Frost, E., Dendukuri, N., Schiller, I., Bourgault, A.-M., Dascal, A., Oughton, M., Longtin, Y., Poirier, L., Brassard, P., Turgeon, N., … Loo, V. G. (2019). Clostridium difficile: Investigating transmission patterns between infected and colonized patients using whole genome sequencing. Clinical Infectious Diseases: An Official Publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, 68(2), 204–209.

Mada, P. K., & Alam, M. U. (2023). Clostridioides Difficile. StatPearls Publishing.

Schnizlein, M. K., & Young, V. B. (2022). Capturing the environment of the Clostridioides difficile infection cycle. Nature Reviews. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 19(8), 508–520.

Trindade, C. N. R., Domingues, R. M. C. P., & Ferreira, E. O. (2019). The epidemiology of Clostridioides difficile infection in Brazil: A systematic review covering thirty years. Anaerobe, 58, 13–21.



Select a publication or a newspaper article on a pathogen, apply knowledge learned in BIOS242, and write a paper.

The goal for this project is:

to make connections between concepts learned in the course and what is observed in a health care setting

to understand real-life applications of Microbiology

Project Parameters:

For this assignment, you will identify a pathogen in a newspaper article or publication of your choice, apply principles learned in BIOS 242, and research the pathogen for its connection to nursing/health care. You must get approval for your chosen article and pathogen. You will then write a paper on their chosen pathogen/topic. Use the template hyperlinked above when writing your paper.

The pathogen can be a bacteria, fungus, protozoa, or virus. In addition to the article, information to include in the paper should include, morphology, gram stain characteristics, virulence factors, susceptibility to antibiotics, host cells, nutritional needs, growth conditions, mechanisms used to evade the immune system and invasion into the host(s), interactions with the hosts and diseases caused and affected body systems. Additionally, students should explain symptoms when the pathogen infects a host, as well as a diagnosis and the therapeutic intervention needed after infection. You may also add information on statistics related to infection (epidemiology) and any new research findings related to the pathogen.


Writing Requirements (APA format)

Length: 2 pages (not including title page or references page)

1-inch margin

Double spaced

12-point Times New Roman font

Title page

References page (minimum of 2 scholarly sources)

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