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Severe Diarrhea May Be Rising Threat to Pregnant Women

Clostridium difficile-associated disease is linked to maternal deaths and stillbirths

MONDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- In pregnant women, severe Clostridium difficile-associated disease may be an emerging threat, according to a report published in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Nadine G. Rouphael, M.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues collected clinical and pathology data on severe cases and surveyed 798 infectious disease consultants in the Emerging Infections Network, of whom 419 (52 percent) responded.

The researchers collected information on 10 severe cases, including three maternal deaths and three stillbirths. In two cases, the epidemic Clostridium difficile strain was identified. In their survey, 37 infectious disease consultants cited a total of 55 cases and 21 complications, most of which occurred during the postpartum period.

"Most importantly, the optimal management of Clostridium difficile-associated disease in pregnant women must include a low threshold for testing, early recognition, and close monitoring for signs and symptoms of deterioration, such as an increase in abdominal tenderness and distension, elevation of leukocyte counts over 20,000, or a rising creatinine level," the authors state.

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