Obesity Boosts Bacterial Infection Risk: Study

Monday, 28 Oct 2013 04:04 PM

By Nick Tate

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Obesity significantly raises the risk of contracting a hard-to-treat bacterial infection increasingly found in hospital patients, according to a new study.
Researchers from Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine have found obese people are more likely to suffer clostridium difficile — CDI — infections.
These findings, reported online in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, may help clinicians identify those at highest risk of the disease.

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CDI is a bacterial infection of the gut that often causes diarrhea in hospitalized patients, is becoming increasingly common (with the number of cases doubling over the last decade), and costs the nation up to $1 billion in healthcare expenditures.
By analyzing three groups of patients with CDI — those who were admitted from the community with no risk factors, those who had prior exposure to hospitals or clinics, and those who had onset of disease in the hospital — the researchers found people infected outside a hospital setting were far more likely to be obese than the others.
"We were also surprised to note that our patients who were presenting from the community were almost twice as likely to be obese as the general population in Massachusetts [34 percent compared to 23 percent]," said Nahid Bhadelia, M.D., associate hospital epidemiologist at BMC and assistant professor of medicine at BUSM.

"Hence ... obesity may be associated with higher risk of CDI."

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