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Clostridium difficile Infections in Veterans Health Administration Long-Term Care Facilities

  • Jeffrey S. Reeves (a1) (a2), Martin E. Evans (a1) (a2) (a3), Loretta A. Simbartl (a4), Stephen M. Kralovic (a4) (a5) (a6), Allison A. Kelly (a4) (a5) (a6), Rajiv Jain (a7) and Gary A. Roselle (a4) (a5) (a6)...



A nationwide initiative was implemented in February 2014 to decrease Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) in Veterans Affairs (VA) long-term care facilities. We report a baseline of national CDI data collected during the 2 years before the Initiative.


Personnel at each of 122 reporting sites entered monthly retrospective CDI case data from February 2012 through January 2014 into a national database using case definitions similar to those used in the National Healthcare Safety Network Multidrug-Resistant Organism/CDI module. The data were evaluated using Poisson regression models to examine infection occurrences over time while accounting for admission prevalence and type of diagnostic test.


During the 24-month analysis period, there were 100,800 admissions, 6,976,121 resident days, and 1,558 CDI cases. The pooled CDI admission prevalence rate (including recurrent cases) was 0.38 per 100 admissions, and the pooled nonduplicate/nonrecurrent community-onset rate was 0.17 per 100 admissions. The pooled long-term care facility–onset rate and the clinically confirmed (ie, diarrhea or evidence of pseudomembranous colitis) long-term care facility–onset rate were 1.98 and 1.78 per 10,000 resident days, respectively. Accounting for diagnostic test type, the long-term care facility–onset rate declined significantly (P=.05), but the clinically confirmed long-term care facility–onset rate did not.


VA long-term care facility CDI rates were comparable to those in recent reports from other long-term care facilities. The significant decline in the long-term care facility-onset rate but not in the clinically confirmed long-term care facility–onset rate may have been due to less testing of asymptomatic patients. Efforts to decrease CDI rates in long-term care facilities are necessary as part of a coordinated approach to decrease healthcare-associated infections.

Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2016;37(3):295–300


Corresponding author

Address correspondence to Jeffrey S. Reeves, MD, 740 South Limestone, K512, Lexington, KY 40536 (


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