Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options Skip directly to A-Z link Skip directly to A-Z link Skip directly to A-Z link
Volume 16, Number 4—April 2010
Etymologia

Etymologia: Clostridium difficile

Cite This Article

[klos-trid′e-əm di-fi -sil′]

Clostridium, the genus name of these gram-positive, spore-forming, anaerobic bacteria comes from Greek klōstēr (spindle) because, under the microscope, the colonies resemble spindles used in cloth weaving and long sticks with a bulge at the end. The species name difficile is a form of the Latin adjective difficilis because when first identified (by Hall and O’Toole in 1935), the organism was difficult to isolate and grew slowly in pure culture. However, likely because of the familiarity of a French term with the same spelling and meaning, the French pronunciation has become widely used. These bacteria are part of the commensal intestinal flora in humans, and toxigenic strains of the organism can cause pseudomembranous colitis, a severe infection of the colon, after normal gut flora have been eradicated in patients who have received antimicrobial drugs.

Sources: Kelly CP, Pothoulakis C, LaMont JT; Clostridium difficile colitis. N Engl J Med. 1994;330:257–62; Wells J. My phonetic blog. 2006. www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/blog0606.htm; www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Clostridium-difficile; Dorland’s illustrated medical dictionary, 31st ed. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.

Top

Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid1604.e11604

Related Links

Top

Table of Contents – Volume 16, Number 4—April 2010

Page created: December 28, 2010
Page updated: December 28, 2010
Page reviewed: December 28, 2010
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
file_external