C. Difficile symptoms and incubation period

Not Medical Advice: The incubation period of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is currently unknown. One study suggested an incubation of 7 days, others suggested a longer incubation.

Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is a bacterium that causes colitis, which is inflammation of the colon.

The bacteria are found in excrement. Healthcare workers can spread C. difficile to patients or contaminate surfaces if hands are not properly washed. People can contract the infection if they touch contaminated surfaces or items and then touch their mouth or mucous membranes.

Symptoms of C. difficile include:

  • • At least three watery bowel movements per day for two or more days
  • • Fever
  • • Loss of appetite
  • • Nausea
  • • Abdominal pain/tenderness

Treatment of a mild infection caused by C. difficile is an antibiotic (metronidazole, vancomycin, or fidaxomicin).

The Arizona Department of Health Services offers tips to help prevent spreading C. diff (and other germs) to others at home.

In the news, research shows that overuse of antibiotics is responsible for doubling the C. difficile in U.S. hospitals. The infection may account for 14,000 deaths each year. Find out more from Food Safety News.