The fourth National C. diff Summit and Lobby Day will be held on April 8, 2019 at Gallaudet University’s Kellogg Conference Hotel in Washington, D.C., the Peggy Lillis Foundation (PLF) announced in a press release on March 20.
About 100 leaders will come together for the Summit to the fight against the infection of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), which is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions such as colitis, and may eventually lead to death. The superbug is responsible for the death of 30,000 Americans every year.
Over 500,000 Americans still get this infection annually, while nearly 100,000 of them suffer multiple recurrences. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognized C. diff as an urgent public health threat.
PLF invites leaders in medicine, public health, and grassroots organizations every year for the Summit. They are offered the opportunity to meet with volunteer advocates who have fought C. diff themselves or lost a loved one due to the disease. This year 25 advocates from 14 states will participate in the Summit from California, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.
“Unlike better known diseases like cancer and HIV/AIDS, most superbugs, including C. difficile, have lacked a movement of patient and family advocates. That has contributed to public awareness and government funding which are low relative to the epidemic’s human and financial cost, estimated at $20 billion annually,” said Christian John Lillis, PLF’s Executive Director.
He said PLF has been working towards building a national movement to end the harm caused by C. difficile. “Our Summit is a key convening and catalyst in that movement,” he added.
On April 9, the Lobby Day, PLF’s Advocates Council, together with industry and nonprofit partners, will also be meeting Members of Congress to educate them about C. difficile and seek their support to eradicate it.
Sessions on accurate diagnostics, designating diseases as nationally notifiable, the Antimicrobial Resistance Fighter Coalition, and devising public policies to tackle the urgent public health threat will also be featured in the Summit.
Organizations such as Pfizer, BD, Merck, Pew Charitable Trusts, Vedanta Biosciences, TOMI Environmental Services, Rebiotix, ThermoFisher Scientific, Seres Therapeutics, and Summit Therapeutics provide financial support for the 2019 National C. diff Summit and Lobby Day.
The Summit is free and registration is on a first-come basis.