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Understanding the transmission of superbug, Clostridium difficile – Consumer Advisory Group

About the project and the involvement opportunity

We are looking for people who have a lived experience of Clostridium difficile infection (as a sufferer or career) and/or have an interest in the transmission of superbugs in the community.

C. difficile is a superbug that is resistant to many common antibiotics and is listed as one of the five most urgent antibiotic resistance threats by the US CDC. It is a bacterium that causes diarrhoea, abdominal pain, a life-threatening inflammation of the colon and death. Traditionally, C. difficile infection is viewed as a disease that only occurs in hospitalised patients. This includes people with a weakened immune system such as those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, cystic fibrosis, organ transplant patients taking immunosuppressive drugs and the elderly. However, cases have risen significantly both in the hospital and in the community. The source of these infections is currently unknown. We are investigating the transmission of C. difficile so that better infectious disease interventions can be designed and implemented.

C. difficile has also been isolated from production animals, pets, vegetables, public lawns, soil, compost, mulches, hospital and residential gardens, household environment (toilet, kitchen, floor, shoes, etc), ponds, lakes, rivers, wastewater and dewatered solid waste from sewage treatment plants. We think C. difficile is a One Health pathogen that is being transmitted between humans, animals and the environment. Thus, it is an issue that requires multi-sector collaboration to address.

About the position

We would like to engage with consumers and community members to ensure they have a strong voice in our work.

What am I expected to do?

The consumer and community members can help guide and support our team of researchers with specific projects, as well as research grant applications and plain language summaries across the breadth of the team’s work. Providing ideas on research direction and input to develop strategies to inform the wider community about our research findings.

What skills or experience do I need?

We are looking for 3 groups of consumers and community members. Those who:

  1. Have a direct or indirect experience of C. difficile infection
  2. Have a direct or indirect experience of conditions that predisposed an individual to a high risk of acquiring C. difficile infection (such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, cystic fibrosis, organ transplantation, being immunocompromised and >65 years old).
  3. Have an interest in the transmission of superbugs in the community.

How long am I expected to be involved?

Reference group members are appointed for 1 year. At the end of the initial term, you can apply for reappointment for a further term of 1-2 years.

Where will meetings be held?

QEII Medical Centre, The University of Western Australia

What support is offered?

$37.50 per hour honorarium. Training and support is offered by the Consumer and Community Involvement Program.

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