Universal screening for Clostridioides difficile in a tertiary hospital: risk factors for carriage and clinical disease

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Objectives: The role of asymptomatic carriers in Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) epidemiology is not fully understood. Our aim was to evaluate CD carriage prevalence on admission, associated risk factors, and the risk of developing CDI. Methods: A 10-week surveillance program for CD carriage of all medical patients admitted to the Sheba Medical Centre was implemented, utilizing an admission rectal swab PCR. Healthcare facility-onset CDI (HO-CDI) was recorded and divided into HO-CDI diagnosed in CD carriers and non-carriers. Results: A total of 4601 admissions were recorded in 3803 patients; 2368 patients had technically analysable rectal swabs, of whom 81 (3.4%) were CD carriers. A multivariate logistic regression model showed that previous hospitalization, old age (>85 years) and low Norton scores were significant independent predictors of CD carriage. Carriers were more likely to receive antimicrobial therapy during hospitalization than non-carriers were. The incidence of HO-CDI in non-carriers was 4.6 cases per 10 000 patient-days; the incidence of HO-CDI in carriers was 76.7 cases per 10 000 patient-days (RR 16.6, 95% CI 4.0–69.1, p.002). Conclusions: In a prospective study, the rate of CD carriage on admission in medical patients was 3.4%. CD carriers were older, frailer, and more likely to have been hospitalized recently. HO-CDI incidence was significantly higher among CD carriers than among non-carriers, with at least a third of CDI in screened patients developing in carriers. Targeted screening of high-risk groups for CD carriage should be further considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1132
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Carrier state/epidemiology
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Enterocolitis
  • Healthcare-associated infections
  • Pseudomembranous/epidemiology
  • Screening

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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