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One in 10 Hospital Patients May Carry C. Diff at Admission

Asymptomatic carriers of C. difficile at significant risk for progression to symptomatic infection

digestive system

TUESDAY, Dec. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly one in 10 patients admitted to a hospital with no symptoms of diarrhea may be a carrier of Clostridioides difficile, according to a study published online Dec. 11 in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Sarah W. Baron, M.D., from the Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, and colleagues tested perirectal swabs by polymerase chain reaction for C. difficile within 24 hours of admission among adults admitted without diarrhea. The analysis included 220 patients, who were followed for six months to identify progression to symptomatic C. difficile.

The researchers found that 9.6 percent of patients were C. difficile carriers, including 10.2 percent of the nursing facility residents and 7.7 percent of the community residents. Progression to symptomatic C. difficile was seen in 38.1 percent of the 21 carriers but only in 2.0 percent of the noncarriers (four of 199; hazard ratio, 23.9).

"Asymptomatic carriers may represent a significant reservoir for transmission of C. difficile, and progression from asymptomatic carriage to symptomatic C. difficile infection may account for a significant proportion of C. difficile infection that is classified as 'health care-facility onset,'" the authors write.

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