Clostridioides difficile was previously named Clostridium difficile. It is often called C. diff. This toxin-producing bacterium forms spores that can live up to five months on inanimate surfaces. If ingested, the spores will not be killed by stomach acid and can infect the intestines.
The bacteria are common and typically do not make healthy people sick. Infections usually follow antibiotic use. Older adults in hospitals or long-term care facilities are most vulnerable. Watery diarrhea, ranging from mild to severe, is the most common symptom. In rare cases, C. diff infections can be fatal.