Advanced genome sequencing will be used to track how Clostridium difficile (C.diff) – bacteria that cause diarrhoea and even death – spread throughout the community.
ECU researcher Dr Deirdre Collins has been granted a $400,000 Peter Doherty Early Career Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to study the deadly germ.
Dr Collins said C.diff is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria once thought to be confined to hospitals but now spreading in the general community.
“Increasingly we are seeing people in the community infected with C.diff that have not contracted it from a hospital visit,” she said.
”Our previous research has shown that some gardening supplies and lawns in WA are contaminated with C.diff.
“With 30 cases per 100,000 people every year, Western Australia has the highest rates of C.diff in the country.
Tracking the spread of C.diff
Dr Collins said that by using a technique called whole genome sequencing, she and colleagues will be able to precisely trace how C.diff spread throughout the community.
“We have thousands of samples of C.diff, which will enable us to identify the environmental sources of C.diff and show how it is spread.
“This information will allow us to determine ways to reduce the spread of C.diff throughout the community.”