Risk factors for the development of Clostridium difficile infection in hospitalized children

Waheeda Samady, Alice Pong, Erin Fisher
Current Opinion in Pediatrics 2014, 26 (5): 568-72

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This article defines the risk factors for Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in hospitalized children in light of recent studies demonstrating a change in the epidemiology of these infections in both adults and children.

RECENT FINDINGS: Antibiotic exposure within the past 4-12 weeks was noted in a majority of published cases of pediatric CDI, and that remains a key risk factor for infection. Past and/or prolonged hospitalization increase a child's risk for CDI as they increase potential contact with C. difficile spores. Of all CDI, hospital-acquired infection remains more common. Many comorbid conditions have been linked with CDI, with the strongest association existing in children with cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. Severe infections occur infrequently in pediatric patients. Markers established in adults for severe CDI resulting in colectomy or transfer to ICU have not been shown to correlate in pediatric patients.

SUMMARY: Recent antibiotic exposure and hospitalization remain key risk factors for CDI in the hospitalized pediatric patient. Patients with comorbid conditions such as malignancy and inflammatory bowel disease are at higher risk for CDI. Resistant infections and severe outcomes are not common in the pediatric population.


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