Study reports increasing incidence of Clostridium difficile infection

A study presented by Mayo Clinic researchers during Digestive Disease Week 2012 provides clear evidence that the number of people contracting the hard-to-control and treat bacterial infection Clostridium difficile (C. difficile or C. diff) is increasing, and that the infection is commonly contracted outside of the hospital.

"We have seen C.difficile infection as a cause for diarrhea in humans for more than 30 years, and the incidence of infections has been increasing in the last decade," says Sahil Khanna, M.B.B.S., Mayo Clinic Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and lead author of the study. "It has been believed that the typical profile of a person with C. difficile is an older patient, taking antibiotics, while in the hospital. For the first time, we have described a significantly increased incidence of C. difficile in children with diarrhea in a population-based cohort. Importantly, we also found that more than three-quarters of cases of C. difficile in children are being contracted in the community, not in the hospital."

Results of the study showed that the incidence of C.difficile infection (CDI) in children was more than 12 times higher between 2004 and 2009, compared to the period 1991-1997 (32.6 cases per 100,000 vs. 2.6). In addition, 75 percent of cases were "community-acquired," meaning that the patients had not been hospitalized for at least four weeks prior to contracting C. difficile.

C. difficile is an environmental infection, commonly seen on surfaces in the hospital and described to be present in some , including . Because the can be spread from person to person, Mayo Clinic researchers recommend practicing prevention, including:

  • Wash hands with soap and water.
  • Clean suspected contaminated surfaces with bleach-based solutions.
  • Avoid contact with people who are known to have CDI.
  • Take extra hygiene precautions if you are living with a person who has CDI or who works in a health care setting where a person might be exposed to patients with CDI.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Another US health worker infected with Ebola

9 minutes ago

A third American health worker has tested positive for the Ebola virus while working with patients in West Africa, the Christian missionary group SIM said Tuesday.

UN implores all countries to help on Ebola

2 hours ago

The international group Doctor Without Borders warned Tuesday that the world is 'losing the battle' against Ebola, while U.N. officials implored all countries to quickly step up their response by contributing health experts ...

Travel restrictions could worsen Ebola crisis: experts

6 hours ago

Travel restrictions could worsen West Africa's Ebola epidemic, limiting medical and food supplies and keeping out much-needed doctors, virologists said Tuesday as the disease continued its deadly spread.

World 'losing battle' to contain Ebola: MSF (Update)

7 hours ago

International medical agency Medecins sans Frontieres said Tuesday the world was "losing the battle" to contain Ebola as the United Nations warned of severe food shortages in the hardest-hit countries.

Mutating Ebola viruses not as scary as evolving ones

7 hours ago

My social media accounts today are cluttered with stories about "mutating" Ebola viruses. The usually excellent ScienceAlert, for example, rather breathlessly informs us "The Ebola virus is mutating faster in humans than in animal hosts ...

User comments