CDC/ Lois S. Wiggs (PHIL #6260), 2004.
Scanning electron micrograph of Clostridium difficile bacteria from a stool sample obtained from the CDC Public Health Image Library.
In 2010 patients at two hospitals in San Joaquin County in California started coming down with a strange and serious illness. It turned out to be Clostridium difficile, or C. diff for short.
It's an infection usually associated with hospitals and nursing homes, and it causes gastrointestinal distress. In serious cases, even death. In the U.S., 14,000-20,000 people die annually from C. diff.
According to a recent report about infections in California hospitals, the San Joaquin County facilities were ranked among the state's worst for this disease.
To understand why, we turn now to Deborah Schoch. She's a Senior Writer for the Center for Health Reporting at USC and has spent months reporting on C. diff.