Trends in Clostridium difficile disease: Epidemiology and intervention

David J. Riddle, Erik R. Dubberke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Clostridium difficile is the most common cause of nosocomial infectious diarrhea. The incidence of C difficile infection (CDI) is increasing in both inpatients and outpatients, and outbreaks caused by a hypervirulent strain of C difficile are resulting in more severe disease. Moreover, community-associated CDI is occurring in persons who lack the traditional risk factors, which include antibiotic use, advanced age, and severe underlying disease. The clinical severity of CDI ranges from a mild, self-limited diarrheal illness to a fulminant, life-threatening colitis. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay is the most common laboratory method used for detection of C difficile toxins and can confirm the diagnosis within several hours. The choice of treatment should be based on disease severity. Oral metronidazole is generally regarded as the treatment of choice for mild to moderate CDI, while oral vancomycin is recommended for severe disease. Timely surgical intervention is important in patients who have severe complicated CDI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-220
Number of pages10
JournalInfections in Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009


  • Clostridium difficile
  • Pseudomembranous colitis


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