- Large, rectangular, non-motile, sporeforming, gram (+), capsulated, arranged singly or in pairs
- Grows well in cooked meat and milk media under anaerobic conditions
- Ferments glucose, fructose, and lactose in milk medium with production of large amounts of gas – hence the name “gas bacillus” giving a characteristic “stormy fermentation of milk” in this medium
- Common inhabitants of the soil, street dust and feces or manure of herbivorous animals
- Causes gas gangrene
- This is brought about when the bacilli invade the tissues of the body through deep punctured wounds due to vehicular accidents, gunshot wounds, compound fracture of postpartum uterus.
- Inside the tissues, the organism grows especially in the muscle fibers with such vigor that the pressure of accumulated gas tears the tissues apart.
- The infection spread in 1 to 3 days to produce crepitation (filling of air inside the tissue).
- Ingestion of contaminated foods
- Via skin through contaminated wounds (gunshot wounds or vehicular accident wounds)
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- The involved extremity produces foul smelling discharges due to pyogenic formation and is characterized by a thin, brownish body fluid which on slight touch results to emission of bubbles of gas.
- The tissues of the wound become greatly swollen, discolored or necrotic (blackish discoloration) and infiltrated with gas.
- There is fever, toxemia, shock and later death.
- Serve meals hot, as soon as they are cooked.
- Cool foods rapidly, refrigerate until serving time, reheat if necessary.
- Early and adequate cleansing of contaminated wounds.
- Prompt surgical treatment of wounds.
- Administration of antimicrobial drugs directed against clostridia
- Gas gangrene antitoxin for suspected wounds.
- Passive immunity with gas gangrene antitoxin for deep punctured wounds suspected of being contaminated with Clostridium Perfringens.
- Prompt and extensive surgical debridement of the involved area and excision of all devitalized tissues in which the organism are prone to grow.
- Administration of penicillin at the same time.
- Hyperbaric oxygen may be of help in the medical management of the clostridia tissue infections.
Photo credit: http://www.graphicshunt.com/health/images/clostridium_perfringens-943.htm