Prevalence of Clostridium difficile environmental contamination and strain variability in multiple health care facilities

Erik R. Dubberke, Kimberly A. Reske, Judith Noble-Wang, Angela Thompson, George Killgore, Jennie Mayfield, Bernard Camins, Keith Woeltje, Jay R. McDonald, L. Clifford McDonald, Victoria J. Fraser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Background: Clostridium difficile spores can contaminate the hospital environment. Little is known about the prevalence and strain variability of C. difficile environmental contamination in health care facilities. The objective of this study was to assess C. difficile environmental contamination at various health care facilities in a metropolitan area and determine if the North American pulsed field gel electrophoresis type 1 (NAP1) strain was present. Methods: A cross-sectional pilot survey was conducted. Forty-eight environmental samples were collected from six health care facilities. Samples were cultured for the presence of C. difficile, and positive samples underwent pulsed field gel electrophoresis, toxinotyping, and detection of binary toxin and/or tcdC deletion. Results: C. difficile was cultured from 13 of 48 (27%) samples. Rooms housing a patient with C. difficile-associated disease (CDAD) were more likely to be culture positive than non-CDAD patient rooms (100% vs. 33%; P < 0.01); C. difficile was not isolated outside of patient rooms (0 of 12 samples). The NAP1 epidemic strain was found in 5 out of 6 facilities. Conclusion: C. difficile spores frequently contaminated the hospital environment. Rooms with a CDAD patient were more likely to be contaminated than rooms without a CDAD patient. The NAP1 strain was prevalent throughout the metropolitan area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-318
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2007


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