First Call

  • call is closed
  • 20 funding organisations involved from 16 countries
  • total budget of 14 Mio €
  • 67 full-proposals received
  • 10 projects recommended for funding



Control of Clostridium difficile: an Emerging Threat to the European Livestock Industry


4 (Antimicrobial and anthelmintic resistance, and development of alternative curative and preventive therapies, like biotherapeutics and other potential alternatives.)

Duration of project:

36 Months

Total project costs:

1.141.276 €

Animal group:


Principle investigator:

Simon Cutting, Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom

Project partner:

Aarhus University, Denmark
Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany
Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Clostridium difficile has been recognized as a major cause of neonatal enteritis in pigs and in Europe has only recently been highlighted as a major threat to European livestock. C. difficile is of importance since in Europe it is the leading cause of noscocomial infection and mortalities in humans. The bacterium carries multiple drug resistance and resistance has been shown to be transferable. Finally, in animals C. difficile infection (CDI) has resulted in the emergence of animal variants such as the ribotype 078 that has transferred to humans where in some countries such as the Netherlands it is now the major cause of human C. difficile disease. The European Union has realized the potential seriousness of this situation and summarized its findings in 2011 (see COM, 2011 748). Our aims are to initiate a 3-year project, simplistic in design, that addresses the following key issues; i)  establishing a robust piglet model of CDI, ii) evaluating two types of feed supplement consisting of Bacillus spores or spores of a non-toxicogenic C. difficile 078 strain, and iii) a heat-stable vaccine consisting of Bacillus spores that has proven efficiacy in two animal models. To achieve this, the consortium will consist of 3 partners from Germany, Denmark and the UK. The German and Danish groups have long experience and facilities for working with pigs and they will be primarily responsible for establishing a working model of CDI.  Finally, the UK group has developed the C. difficile spore-based vaccine and has strengths in using Bacillus spores as competitive exclusion agents.  The project will deliver i) the first EU consortium focused on this disease in animals, ii) a working piglet model of infection and iii) animal trial data that could be taken further for use as a commercial vaccine or as heat-stable animal feed supplements.


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