Severe outcomes for patients with multiple C. difficile strains

Severe outcomes for patients with multiple C. difficile strains | Courtesy of
A new study that says that no one genetic strain from Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is more harmful than another contradicts earlier research that shows the most severe C. difficile infections (CDI) may be connected to a specific strain.

Earlier studies show that C. difficile infections that are more severe are connected to Ribotype 027 strains.

C. difficile, a highly infectious diarrhea, is the nation’s most common cause of health-care-associated infections (HAI).

The study, which was a multicenter observational cohort, took data from over 700 patients located throughout seven hospitals within the Houston region. The data was then used to assess the severity of the disease as well as the clinical outcomes for the patients who had different C. difficile strains.

The results demonstrated that C. difficile Ribotype 027 was the most common, but it was not any more harmful that other strains of the illness.

"Clinical severity markers of CDI, such as white blood cell count and albumin level, a protein in blood, are more important predictors of severe outcomes than any specific strain, especially in hospitals with no single predominant strain," Samuel L. Aitken, PharmD, lead author of the study, said.

The latest research is available online in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, which is a journal under the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.