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To test the hypothesis that long-term care facility (LTCF) residents with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) or asymptomatic carriage of toxigenic strains are an important source of transmission in the LTCF and in the hospital during acute-care admissions.
A 6-month cohort study with identification of transmission events was conducted based on tracking of patient movement combined with restriction endonuclease analysis (REA) and whole-genome sequencing (WGS).
Veterans Affairs hospital and affiliated LTCF.
The study included 29 LTCF residents identified as asymptomatic carriers of toxigenic C. difficile based on every other week perirectal screening and 37 healthcare facility-associated CDI cases (ie, diagnosis >3 days after admission or within 4 weeks of discharge to the community), including 26 hospital-associated and 11 LTCF-associated cases.
Of the 37 CDI cases, 7 (18·9%) were linked to LTCF residents with LTCF-associated CDI or asymptomatic carriage, including 3 of 26 hospital-associated CDI cases (11·5%) and 4 of 11 LTCF-associated cases (36·4%). Of the 7 transmissions linked to LTCF residents, 5 (71·4%) were linked to asymptomatic carriers versus 2 (28·6%) to CDI cases, and all involved transmission of epidemic BI/NAP1/027 strains. No incident hospital-associated CDI cases were linked to other hospital-associated CDI cases.
Our findings suggest that LTCF residents with asymptomatic carriage of C. difficile or CDI contribute to transmission both in the LTCF and in the affiliated hospital during acute-care admissions. Greater emphasis on infection control measures and antimicrobial stewardship in LTCFs is needed, and these efforts should focus on LTCF residents during hospital admissions.
Describe the clinical and molecular epidemiology of incident Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) cases in Chicago area acute healthcare facilities (HCFs).
Design and Setting.
Laboratory, clinical, and epidemiologic information was collected for patients with incident CDI who were admitted to acute HCFs in February 2009. Stool cultures and restriction endonuclease analysis typing of the recovered C. difficile isolates was performed.
Two hundred sixty-three patients from 25 acute HCFs.
Acute HCF rates ranged from 2 to 7 patients with CDI per 10,000 patient-days. The crude mortality rate was 8%, with 20 deaths occurring in patients with CDI. Forty-two (16%) patients had complications from CDI, including 4 patients who required partial, subtotal, or total colectomy, 3 of whom died. C. difficile was isolated and typed from 129 of 178 available stool specimens. The BI strain was identified in 79 (61%) isolates. Of patients discharged to long-term care who had their isolate typed, 36 (67%) had BI-associated CDI.
Severe disease was common and crude mortality was substantial among patients with CDI in Chicago area acute HCFs in February 2009. The outbreak-associated BI strain was the predominant endemic strain identified, accounting for nearly two-thirds of cases. Focal HCF outbreaks were not reported, despite the presence of the BI strain. Transfer of patients between acute and long-term HCFs may have contributed to the high incidence of BI cases in this investigation.
Alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHRs) are an effective means of decreasing the transmission of bacterial pathogens. Alcohol is not effective against Clostridium difficile spores. We examined the retention of C. difficile spores on the hands of volunteers after ABHR use and the subsequent transfer of these spores through physical contact.
Nontoxigenic C. difficile spores were spread on the bare palms of 10 volunteers. Use of 3 ABHRs and chlorhexidine soap-and-water washing were compared with plain water rubbing alone for removal of C. difficile spores. Palmar cultures were performed before and after hand decontamination by means of a plate stamping method. Transferability of C. difficile after application of ABHR was tested by having each volunteer shake hands with an uninoculated volunteer.
Plain water rubbing reduced palmar culture counts by a mean (± standard deviation [SD]) of 1.57 ± 0.11 log10 colony-forming units (CFU) per cm2, and this value was set as the zero point for the other products. Compared with water washing, chlorhexidine soap washing reduced spore counts by a mean ( ± SD) of 0.89 ± 0.34 log10 CFU per cm2; among the ABHRs, Isagel accounted for a reduction of 0.11 ± 0.20 log10 CFU per cm2 (P = .005), Endure for a reduction of 0.37 ± 0.42 log10 CFU per cm2 (P = .010), and Purell for a reduction of 0.14 ± 0.33 log10 CFU per cm2 (P = .005). There were no statistically significant differences between the reductions achieved by the ABHRs; only Endure had a reduction statistically different from that for water control rubbing (P = .040). After ABHR use, handshaking transferred a mean of 30% of the residual C. difficile spores to the hands of recipients.
Hand washing with soap and water is significantly more effective at removing C. difficile spores from the hands of volunteers than are ABHRs. Residual spores are readily transferred by a handshake after use of ABHR.
To determine the epidemiology and relatedness of Clostridium difficile isolates in two geographically separated hospitals in a large metropolitan area, each with unique patients and personnel.
Observational descriptive molecular epidemiology of clinical C. difficile isolates.
Two tertiary-care hospitals in Chicago.
Consecutive C. difficile isolates from the clinical laboratory of a Veterans Affairs hospital during a 13-month period were typed by restriction endonuclease analysis (REA). During an overlapping 3-month period, stool specimens that tested positive for C. difficile toxin from patients at a nearby county hospital were cultured and the recovered isolates typed by the same method.
Nineteen (68%) of 28 nosocomial isolates at the smaller, Veterans Affairs hospital belonged to REA group K. Within this group of closely related strains, 9 distinct REA types were recognized. Twenty-one (72%) of 29 nosocomial isolates at the larger, county hospital also belonged to group K. However, the predominant REA types within group K differed markedly at each institution.
These findings demonstrate a high degree of similarity among nosocomial C. difficile strains from different hospitals in the same city and suggest the possibility of an extended outbreak of a prototype group K strain with subsequent genetic drift at the two different institutions.
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