The use of antimicrobial agents and acquired resistances explains in part the emergence and spreading of epidemic strains of Clostridium difficile. Continued use of antimicrobial therapy still represents an acute danger in triggering the emergence and spreading of new resistant and multiresistant strains including against first-line antibiotics. We examine the pathway of peptidoglycan synthesis in this organism and associated resistances, as well as resistance to other classes of antibiotics. The life cycle of C. difficile involves growth, spore formation and germination. Spores endow the organism with a formidable capacity of persistence in the environment and in the host, resistance, dissemination and infectious potential. Highly resistant spores produced by antibiotic-resistant/multiresistant strains may be one of the most serious challenges we face in what concerns the containment of C. difficile. Finally, we review recent developments in the treatment and prevention of C. difficile infection.
Part of the book: Clostridium Difficile