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New York Times: Intestinal Infection [Letter to the Editor]

By Christian John Lillis

To the Editor:

When Pills Fail, This, er, Option Provides a Cure” (front page, Jan. 17) provides welcome visibility to the underreported epidemic of Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile, which claimed my mother three years ago.

Estimates from the Department of Health and Human Services indicate that yearly deaths from the disease exceed 28,000, or more than double the 14,000 cited in the article, and rivaling the number of Americans killed every year by guns and traffic accidents.

The Dutch study on the efficacy of fecal transplant treatment provides hope for thousands of people touched by the disease. The article, however, doesn’t mention that a major barrier to C. difficile treatment of any kind is a missed diagnosis for its symptoms of diarrhea, cramps and fever.

Read the full letter.

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