Infection due to Clostridium difficile among elderly residents of a long-term-care facility

A E Simor, S L Yake, K Tsimidis
Clinical Infectious Diseases 1993, 17 (4): 672-8
In a study of the epidemiology of infection due to Clostridium difficile at long-term-care facilities, we conducted point-prevalence surveys and obtained stool samples from residents receiving antibiotics and from those developing diarrhea during 1 year at a 350-bed nursing home and an adjoining 280-bed chronic-care hospital. C. difficile and/or its cytotoxin was detected in 236 specimens from 94 residents. Only 16 (17%) of these 94 individuals had diarrhea at the time C. difficile was detected. The prevalence of C. difficile infection ranged from 2.1% to 8.1% in the nursing home and from 7.1% to 14.7% in the hospital. The organism was recovered from six (8.8%) of 68 residents receiving antibiotics, and four of the six developed antibiotic-associated diarrhea. The receipt of antibiotic treatment within the previous 8 weeks (odds ratio [OR], 7.9), the presence of a nasogastric or gastrostomy feeding tube (OR, 6.5), urinary and fecal incontinence (OR, 2.5), and the presence of more than three underlying diseases (OR, 2.0) were statistically significant independent variables associated with C. difficile infection. Typing of isolates by restriction-endonuclease analysis indicated that most C. difficile infections at this long-term-care facility were associated with endogenous enteric carriage of the organism, with little evidence of cross-infection.

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