How do Clostridium difficile bacteria reproduce and what toxins do they release?

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jgeertz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Clostridium difficile, more commonly known as C. diff, is a rod-shaped, spore-forming bacteria. C. diff bacteria are anaerobic, meaning they live without oxygen. C. diff. bacteria reproduce asexually by a process called binary fission. Basically, binary fission is the division of one cell into two cells after the cell has copied its DNA. As the C. diff bacteria multiply, two toxins are produced that damage the intestinal wall of the individual. Toxin A which kills epithelial cells and Toxin B which promotes ulceration. The rate at which the bacteria reproduce and release toxins is dependent on many factors most importantly a person's medical condition. C. diff infections are a primary  concern in hospitals because of their ability to spread among immunocompromised people. Many healthy individuals carry C. diff in their intestines but never become ill because their normal gut flora keeps troublesome bacteria in check.