The Importance of Colonization with Clostridium difficile on Infection and Transmission

Daniel J. Morgan, Surbhi Leekha, Lindsay Croft, Carey Ann D. Burnham, J. Kristie Johnson, Lisa Pineles, Anthony D. Harris, Erik R. Dubberke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) are the most common cause of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) in the USA, accounting for 12 % of all HAIs [1]. Reasons for such an increase are unknown but may relate to antibiotic use and evolution of a new, pathogenic strain, NAP1/BI/027. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies C. difficile as one of only three organisms to be assigned a designation of an “urgent” threat level. Asymptomatic colonization with C. difficile is much more common than symptomatic CDI and has been documented to contribute to new cases of CDI. Despite this knowledge, approaches to managing and preventing transmission from asymptomatically colonized patients are lacking. Enhanced cleaning, avoidance of unnecessary antimicrobials, and use of gowns and gloves for patients with CDI are the cornerstone of C. difficile management in patients with known disease. Infection control interventions to prevent transmission from asymptomatically colonized patients have not been determined.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
JournalCurrent Infectious Disease Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 6 2015


  • CDI
  • Clostridium difficile infections
  • HAI
  • Healthcare-associated infections


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