Predictors of asymptomatic Clostridium difficile colonization on hospital admission


      • In a large cohort, 4.05% of patients were colonized with Clostridium difficile on admission.
      • Risk factors for Clostridium difficile colonization on admission were identified.
      • Most patients with Clostridium difficile colonization carried non-NAP1, non-NAP2 strains.


      Clostridium difficile (CD) is the leading cause of health care–associated diarrhea and can result in asymptomatic carriage. Rates of asymptomatic CD colonization on hospital admission range from 1.4%-21%. The objective of this study was to evaluate host and bacterial factors associated with colonization on admission.


      The Consortium de recherche québécois sur le Clostridium difficile study provided data for analysis, including demographic information, known risk factors, and potential confounding factors, prospectively collected for 5,232 patients from 6 hospitals in Quebec and Ontario over 15 months from 2006-2007. Stool or rectal swabs were obtained for culture on admission. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was performed on the isolates. The presence of antibody against CD toxins A and B was measured.


      There were 212 (4.05%) patients colonized with CD on admission, and 5,020 patients were not colonized with CD. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that hospitalization within the last 12 months, use of corticosteroids, prior CD infection, and presence of antibody against toxin B were associated with colonization on admission. Of patients colonized on admission, 79.4% had non-NAP1, non-NAP2 strains.


      There are identifiable risk factors among asymptomatic CD carriers that could serve in their detection and provide a basis for targeted screening.

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