Clostridium difficile is a member of the group of Gram-positive, anaerobic spore producers. They can be found in the digestive system of humans and animals and can also be isolated in the environment. The spores -- bacterial permanent forms of the pathogen -- are extremely resistant to adverse environmental conditions and keep the bacterium safe from temperatures of more than 100 °C and also from various disinfectants.
This pathogen has become a focus of interest, given the occurrence of the hypervirulent Clostridium difficile strains PCR Ribotype 027 (NAP Type 1) in North America and Europe. Clostridium difficile infections – which can be avoided in most cases –result in additional costs of 3 billion euros at European hospitals per year, according to current estimates.