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A deadly ill that thrives on silence

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent announcement that infections and deaths from Clostridium difficile are twice as prevalent as long estimated is a revelation.

Drawing on data from New York hospitals, along with nine other states and veterans’ facilities, it indicates that pain and loss of loved ones from this largely preventable disease touch hundreds of thousands of Americans.

But this disease gives a whole new meaning to quiet killer. Because C. diff. infections spread through feces and food, and its symptoms involve diarrhea, its very existence triggers squeamish silence. Who wants to talk about poop in public?

Yet stopping a disease that claims 29,000 lives a year requires us to.

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