Clostridia Facts

Find out more about this dangerous bacteria

Clostridia Facts: Find out more about the bacteria that killed Brian Lykins:

  • Clostridia is a bacteria strain that is often rare and toxic.
  • The bacteria that killed Brian Lykins is called Clostridium Sordellii. Other Clostridia cause botulism and tetanus.
  • They live in soil and in human intestines. After death, the intestines break down, and the bacteria can migrate to other parts of the body.
  • They are anaerobic, which means they exist in environments without oxygen. They thrive in warm, wet anaerobic environments - for example, a knee or hip joint. In the presence of oxygen, they develop a sturdy coating called a spore, which protects them. Once they enter an oxygen-less environment, they thrive.
  • Clostridia can withstand some antibiotics. The spores protect them from the medicine.
  • The only way to kill clostridial spores is to have a "sporicidal process"- i.e. a process that kills spores (another term for sterilization).
Questions To Ask A Doctor Before Undergoing Tissue Transplant Surgery

1. what are the risks and benefits of using an autograft (tissue from own body- e.g. hamstring) versus an allograft.

2. Is the tissue allograft as safe as it can be? Has it undergone a process that is proven to kill all bacteria, including spores? For example: gamma irradiation, low temperature chemical sterilization

3. If the tissue had not been sterilized, what kind of quality control did the tissue bank have to make sure that the tissue is as safe as possible ? Did the tissue bank follow the recommendations published in the MMWR March 15, 2002?

4. Has the tissue bank implemented the guidelines published by the FDA on March 8, 2002? Are their process and culture methods validated?

Want to contact the CDC? Here's how.
Or call the CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, National Center for Infectious Diseases: 800-893-0485