Introduction: Clostridium difficile is the most common cause of healthcare associated infection, and C. difficile infection (CDI) is associated with significant costs, morbidity, and mortality. One obstacle to preventing CDI is lack of high quality data on interventions to prevent CDI. This has led some to focus on areas, such as method of hand hygiene, unlikely to impact CDI incidence as much as others, such as contact precautions. In addition, existing strategies, although effective, do have limitations. Another challenge is the ability to rapidly, and accurately, diagnose CDI. Given these obstacles, new strategies to effectively prevent CDI are imperative to improve patient outcomes. Areas covered: Evidence of the interventions recommended by international scientific societies will be reviewed, as well as ongoing research on new strategies, such as screening for asymptomatic C. difficile carriage, microbiota sparing agents, bacteriocins and vaccines. Expert commentary: Current measures to prevent CDI are effective, but have significant limitations. Contact precautions and antimicrobial stewardship are likely the most effective of current prevention recommendations. Diagnostic assay utilization plays a role as well. New strategies to prevent CDI are needed, and, fortunately, several are being studied. Most likely a combination of approaches will be necessary to optimize CDI prevention.
- Clostridium difficile
- immune augmentation
- infection control and prevention
- microbiome preservation