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Absence of Clostridium difficile stool carriage in asymptomatic volunteers

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Introduction / objectives

Clostridium difficile is considered a leading cause of hospital-acquired diarrhea. Currently there are published case-reports of symptomatic Health-Care-Workers (HCW) and one report demonstrating transmission of C. diff from patient to HCW. Therefore, we initiated a prospective study to evaluate the prevalence of asymptomatic C. difficile stool carriage among healthcare workers at a single university hospital comparing them to non-healthcare workers to asses the risk for HCW’s acquiring Clostridium difficile.

Methods

The study population consisted of 113 healthy HCW’s of clinical departments with a high incidence of CDI in inpatients. The 128 controls were taken from the administration department of a Food Company and from frozen stool samples of healthy subjects from a colon cancer screening program. Both groups were comparable in age-and sex-distribution. From April to July 2010, in total 241 stool specimens were tested for toxigenic culture of C diff.. 51% of stool samples (58/113) of the study population and all control-samples (n=128) were confirmed by broth enrichment technique at the National Reference Laboratory for C. difficile in Vienna.

Results

Both investigated study-groups (n-total = 241) were negative for Clostridium difficile by both culture techniques (direct plating and broth enrichment method).

Conclusion

We conclude, therefore, that healthy HCWs are probably not at risk for aquiring C diff spores from contacts with CDI-patients. They are themselves no risk for spreading C. diff spores in health-care facilities. Data about C.diff carriage in the community (up to 3%) demonstrates a possible overestimation.

Disclosure of interest

None declared.

Author information

Correspondence to M Hell.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Hell, M., Sickau, K., Chmelizek, G. et al. Absence of Clostridium difficile stool carriage in asymptomatic volunteers. BMC Proc 5, P183 (2011) doi:10.1186/1753-6561-5-S6-P183

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Keywords

  • Stool Sample
  • Clostridium Difficile
  • Stool Specimen
  • Cancer Screening Program
  • Enrichment Method