Location, Season Influences C. Difficile Infections

May 8, 2015

Clostridium (C) difficile infections (CDIs) are at their highest during the spring and in the Northeast region of the US, a study published May issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC) found.

Clostridium (C) difficile infections (CDIs) are at their highest during the spring and in the Northeast region of the US, a study published May issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC) found.

Researchers from the University of Texas (UT) analyzed 10 years of data from the US National Hospital Discharge Survey for CDI cases.

By documenting the location and season of 2.3 million CDI occurrences, the authors found the Northeast had the most cases (8.0 CDIs/1,000 discharges), along with infections being at their highest in the spring (6.2 CDIs/1,000 discharges).

Comparatively, CDIs were at their lowest in the West (4.8 CDIs/1,000 discharges) and during the fall (5.6 CDIs/1,000 discharges). However, they noted most children who were infected lived in the West (1.7 CDI/1,000 discharges) and occurred in the winter (1.5 CDI/1,000 discharges).

Despite the Northeast and the spring season influencing CDIs the most, the investigators also reported highest levels of CDI-related mortalities occurred in the Midwest (7.3%) and during the winter (7.9%).

“Remarkably, older adult CDI incidence rates were approximately 3 times that of the adult rates and were almost 10-fold greater than that of the pediatric rates,” the team highlighted.

Concluding their study, the researchers hypothesized that spikes in CDIs linked to location and season could be caused by several factors such as variations in prescribing methods based on location, age distributions since the elderly are a vulnerable group, hospital standards, and the molecular makeup of C difficile.

Even so, the team believed the study’s results could help in directing resources and implementing control measures that would both reach and treat at-risk patients.

“These results underscore the need for improved infection control and antimicrobial stewardship measures to prevent CDI and its transmission, particularly in high-risk regions and seasons,” the authors determined. “Further studies are needed to identify factors that contribute to regional and seasonal variations in CDI.”