C. diff transmission in hospitalized patients, asymptomatic carriers and community sources

Even though Clostridium difficile infections affect more than 250,000 hospital patients each year, relatively little is known about how the bacterium spreads. To learn more, researchers examined the effect of hospital and community-based C. diff transmission and control measures in a recent study published in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The study was led by Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Conn., and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The research team constructed a C. diff transmission model within and between hospital, community and long-term care-facility settings.

Using the model, the team found hospitalized patients with symptoms of C. diff transmitted the infection at a rate 15 times higher than asymptomatic patients, even after accounting for infection control measures. Additionally, the rates of transmission among residents in long-term care facilities and in the community were 27 percent and 0.1 percent that of hospitalized patients, respectively.

"Despite lower transmission rates for asymptomatic carriers and community sources, these transmission routes have a substantial effect on hospital-onset CDI because of the larger reservoir of hospitalized carriers and persons in the community," the study concluded. "Asymptomatic carriers and community sources should be accounted for when designing and evaluating control interventions."



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University of Michigan announces $9.2M C. diff prevention effort

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