Clostridia is a fairly numerous type of gram-positive anaerobic bacteria. They can be found in the human intestine and in the feces, as well as on the surface of the skin. Saprophytic species of clostridia, which are representatives of the normal intestinal microflora in children and adults, as well as pathogenic agents of various infectious processes, are distinguished.
Features of clostridia
To understand the danger of clostridia, it is necessary to present their features in general terms.
Currently, more than 100 species of clostridia are known. The name is derived from the Latin word “spindle”, that is, these bacteria have an oblong specific shape that makes it easy to identify them with microscopy.
Clostridiums differ in their biochemical activity: some representatives are able to break down carbohydrates, others – protein compounds. Almost all clostridia form spores that are very resistant to environmental factors, which ensures their circulation in the soil, water and other places.
The most significant feature is clostridial toxins. These biologically active compounds cause specific cell changes, which causes the clinical symptoms of the disease. Exotoxin Cl is particularly strong. botulinum, even very small doses of it can cause severe damage to the nervous system in a child of any age, even death.
The most widespread such saprophytic (not dangerous to humans) species as
The presence of clostridia in the feces does not mean the development of an infectious process in the child’s body. Only a doctor (infectious diseases specialist, family doctor) can correctly interpret the received stool analysis of the child and give the necessary recommendations.
Clostridium in normal stool analysis
Most clostridia found in the feces of a child of any age are not dangerous (pathogenic) to the body. These microbial agents, due to their proteolytic properties, realize the processes of digestion of protein substances in the distal parts of the digestive tract. In fecal masses, depending on the age, the following number of clostridia is found:
- in infants and children up to 1 year old – within 103-104 CFU / g;
- in children of toddlers, school and adolescence – 105 CFU \ g;
- in adults over 60 years old – 106 CFU / g.
However, an increase in the number of clostridia in the feces does not mean an infectious disease. One should think about an infectious disease in case of a serious imbalance of the intestinal microflora (dysbacteriosis) or the appearance of pathogenic species of clostridia.
Dangerous Clostridium Types and Disease Symptoms
The danger to the health of the child (that is, possible confirmation of the diagnosis of an infectious disease) is:
- detection of a large number of clostridia in combination with other changes in the microbial composition of fecal masses;
- Cl detection botulinum (in a child under 1 year old);
Detection in fecal masses of such pathogenic Clostridium
The treatment of diseases caused by various clostridia is carried out by an infectious disease doctor, a gastroenterologist, or a doctor of family practice. Prevention of all variants of clostridiosis is the careful observance of all hygiene standards concerning food products that are offered to the child.
Dysbacteriosis and Clostridia
One can speak about the dysbacteriosis of the digestive tract in the case of pronounced changes in the ratio of the microbial composition of the intestines in a child of any age. These include:
- reducing the content of lacto-and bifidobacteria;
- increase in the content of clostridia (any saprophytic), certain types of E. coli;
- appearance of microbial agents (staphylococcus, proteus, streptococcus), which are not representatives of the normal intestinal microflora.
Dysbacteriosis can be both an independent disease and a complication of many infectious processes (shigellosis, salmonellosis) or its development is the result of long-term drug therapy (especially broad-spectrum antibiotics).
The causes of the formation of dysbacteriosis are not fully understood, since in different people the effect of the same damaging factors (listed above) can cause various changes in the intestines.
The clinical signs of dysbacteriosis are rather non-specific and the same in a child of any age. The most significant include:
- decrease or complete lack of appetite;
- recurrent nausea and vomiting;
- bloating and flatulence;
- a very young child has unmotivated anxiety, constant crying, lack of weight gain.
The diagnosis of dysbacteriosis can only be made according to the results of a specific laboratory study – the so-called fecal dysbacteriosis analysis. In some cases, an instrumental examination of the intestine will be required: sigmoidoscopy or irrigoscopy.
The treatment of dysbacteriosis is very complex and long-lasting; it requires the care of the parents of the little patient in terms of fulfilling all medical appointments. Categorically, you should not use the first medication that has fallen into the pharmacy or flashed in television advertising, as uncontrolled use of pre- and probiotics can only worsen existing changes in the intestinal microbial composition.
This is one of the most severe infectious diseases of a toxic nature, which can be fatal without appropriate treatment.
In the child’s body, the pathogen Cl. botulinum comes with a variety of food products – canned food of home origin, sausage and fish (also made in the home), honey.
The important point is that only in the body of an infant Cl. botulinum is capable of producing exotoxin, the main factor causing the clinical symptoms of the disease. Therefore, the detection of Cl. botulinum in the feces of such a baby is a confirmation of the diagnosis. An increased risk of developing this form of botulism is observed in young patients who are breastfed (honey is often part of artificial mixtures).
In all other cases, that is, children of toddlers, school and adolescence, Cl. botulinum does not have the ability to produce toxin inside the digestive tract. The clinical picture of the disease is caused only by the release of exotoxin directly into the digestive tract from a variety of home-made food products. Therefore, the detection of this Clostridium in the fecal masses is just an accidental finding and cannot serve as confirmation of the diagnosis.
The following symptoms are observed in the clinical picture of botulism:
- sudden visual impairment (the child complains of double vision, “mesh” or “fog” before the eyes);
- there is a violation of swallowing – the child chokes on even liquid food, water can flow through the nose;
- there is a violation of phonation and articulation – the baby begins to speak indistinctly (the language is poorly obeyed) and with a characteristic “nasal”, nasal shade;
- in severe cases, respiratory failure and severe multiple organ failure.
Botulism should be treated only in an infectious diseases hospital. In the complex scheme of treatment are used:
- gastric lavage and siphon enemas;
- 3 types of specific antibotulinic serum;
- intensive detoxification therapy.
This pathogen, if it enters the digestive tract, especially a small child, can cause severe changes in the cells (up to necrosis) and, accordingly, severe gastroenterocolitis. It must be emphasized that such a serious disease most often develops in debilitated children suffering from chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, and when exposed to certain types of
The clinical picture of the disease does not differ in any specificity. When clostridia this etiology is noted:
- repeated nausea and vomiting;
- quite severe pain throughout the abdomen;
- pathological impurities in the feces (blood, mucus, pus).
Therapy of this variant of clostridiosis involves the use of antibiotics (metronidazole, cephalosporins) and powerful detoxification with saline and colloid solutions.
This pathogen is especially dangerous for young children (toddlers and preschool children), as it can cause the development of pseudomembranous colitis after a long course of antibacterial drugs.
The clinical symptoms of the disease are very similar to those caused by
Diagnosis of this variant of clostridiosis is based on data from the history of the disease, a complex of laboratory and instrumental studies. In therapy, the leading value belongs to broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Dr. Komarovsky in his publications emphasizes the need for medical observation and minimal use of all drugs, especially in the case of dysbiosis. In addition, the basis of any medical treatment is proper nutrition of a child of any age.
Clostridioses represent the greatest danger for children of preschool age, as they can provoke serious disturbances of all types of metabolism. It is important not to postpone the visit to the doctor in order to prevent the development of a severe form of the disease. All medical recommendations must be followed.