Vaishnavi, C.
October 2009
Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology;Oct2009, Vol. 27 Issue 4, p289
Academic Journal
Clostridium difficile is the aetiological agent for almost all cases of pseudo membranous colitis and 15-25% of antibiotic associated diarrhoea. In recent years, C. difficile associated disease (CDAD) has been increasing in frequency and severity due to the emergence of virulent strains. Severe cases of toxic mega colon may be associated with mortality rates of 24-38%. The prevalence of CDAD is global and the incidence varies considerably from place to place. In the initial stages of its discovery, C. difficile infection was regarded mainly as an outcome of antibiotic intake and not as a life threatening disease. Intervention by man has produced conditions making C. difficile a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. The recent outbreak of CDAD in Quebec has sent the alarm bells ringing. Apart from a threefold increase in the incidence of CDAD, clinicians have also reported a higher number of cases involving toxic mega colon, colectomy or death. Among all the risk factors, inclusive of the host and the environmental factors, antibiotics are the most important ones. Surgical patients comprise 55-75% of all patients with CDAD due to the fact that perioperative prophylaxis requires the use of antibiotics. However, other drugs such as immunosuppressants and proton pump inhibitors are also important risk factors. Thus CDAD is a growing nosocomial and public health challenge. Additionally, the recognition of community acquired CDAD signals the presence of several risk factors. In this review, the established and potential risk factors of CDAD, along with the epidemiology, diagnostic modalities, management and preventive measures of the disease have been elaborated.


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