C. diff in kids: 5 notes

The prevalence of Clostridium difficile infections in children has increased over the years, with more than 20,000 cases reported annually, according to research published Aug. 10 in Pediatrics.

C. diff is a leading cause of healthcare-associated infection in the U.S., responsible for nearly 500,000 total infections a year. The CDC lists C. diff as one of the top five drug-resistant pathogens in need of aggressive action. The Aug. 10 report summarizes the latest data on prevalence in children, as well as epidemiology trends and emerging evidence on new treatments. 

Here are five things to know about C. diff in children, as outlined in the report: 

  • Most CDI cases, or 75 percent, in kids are community-associated, while most adult infections are healthcare-associated.
  • Up to 30 percent of children with CDI experience recurrence within 60 days, and fecal transplantation is becoming more common to treat these cases. 
  • The pediatric hospitalization rate for C. diff increased 57 percent between 1997 and 2006, with some recent evidence of stabilizing rates in the inpatient setting. 
  • Up to a quarter of hospitalized children may be asymptomatic carriers of C. diff, and at least 30 percent of pediatric oncology patients may be carriers upon admission. 
  • Metronidazole has been considered the mainstay treatment for kids with CDI, though emerging evidence supports the use of oral vancomycin and fidaxomicin as additional options. 

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