C. difficile and antibiotics not necessarily linked

Oct 07, 2008

The latest study by Dr. Sandra Dial from the Research Institute of the MUHC, McGill University, and Attending Staff in the Intensive Care Unit at the Jewish General Hospital, questions the assumption held by a vast majority of medical professionals that Clostridium difficile (C.difficile) infections are essentially always preceded by antibiotic use. This finding could have a major impact on how patients with diarrhea are evaluated upon their admission to the hospital. This study will appear in the October 6 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

The researchers analyzed only C. difficile infections acquired outside the hospital by patients aged 65 or older, and serious enough to require a hospitalization. Patients with hospital-acquired C.difficile infections were excluded because of the increased risk of infection and antibiotic use in the hospital environment.

Their results show that 53% of the patients studied had not been exposed to antibiotics during the 45 days preceding their C.difficile-related hospitalisation. A rate that decreased to 46% when the pre-hospitalization timeframe analysed was extended to 90 days. "These figures show that approximately 50% of community-acquired C. difficile infections are not related to antibiotic use," explained Dr. Dial. "While antibiotic use indeed plays an important role, other factors are likely to also be important. But we still need to determine what these other risk factors are."

More precisely, this study demonstrates that the highest risk of C. difficile infection due to antibiotic use occurs during the 30 days following treatment. According to Dr. Dial, "Beyond the 45-day period following treatment, the risk declines significantly".

"We believe that all patients suffering from diarrhea, particularly if severe enough to require a hospital visit, should be tested for C.difficile at their arrival in the hospital. Right now, testing is mainly done on patients who have taken antibiotics, which probably means that not everyone is receiving a correct diagnosis," warned Dr. Dial.

Source: McGill University Health Centre

Explore further: Continued reliance on Windows XP in physician practices may threaten data security

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A sweet defense against lethal bacteria

May 31, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- There is now a promising vaccine candidate for combating the pathogen which causes one of the most common and dangerous hospital infections. An international team of scientists from the Max ...

Novel strategies target health care-associated infections

Mar 14, 2011

Can probiotics prevent pneumonia in patients breathing with the help of ventilators? That's just one question researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis hope to answer as part of innovative new studies ...

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Bionic ankle 'emulates nature'

These days, Hugh Herr, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT, gets about 100 emails daily from people across the world interested in his bionic limbs.

Smoking's toll on mentally ill analyzed

Those in the United States with a mental illness diagnosis are much more likely to smoke cigarettes and smoke more heavily, and are less likely to quit smoking than those without mental illness, regardless ...

Net neutrality balancing act

Researchers in Italy, writing in the International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management have demonstrated that net neutrality benefits content creator and consumers without compromising provider innovation nor pr ...