Clostridium difficile (a Gram-positive, spore-forming, strict anaerobe) can colonize antibiotic-treated hosts (McFarland, 2008). Antibiotics alter the composition of the normal, benign microbial flora which leads to loss of colonization resistance (Wilson and Perini, 1988; Antonopoulos et al., 2009). C. difficile spores germinate to actively growing bacteria which secrete toxins that damage the colonic epithelium (Voth and Ballard, 2005). The use of animal models of C. difficile disease have allowed the identification of mechanisms of colonization and virulence factors (Lyras et al., 2009; Kuehne et al., 2010; Francis et al., 2013; Aubry et al., 2012; Carter et al., 2011). This protocol describes virulence studies of C. difficile in the hamster model of C. difficile infection (Bartlett et al., 1978; Sambol et al., 2001).
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