Studies on the epidemiology of antibiotic-associated Clostridium difficile colitis.
Vancomycin protects hamsters from the development of Clostridium difficile colitis after treatment with clindamycin, and vancomycin is useful in treatment of humans with the disease. Relapses have occurred in both hamsters and humans when vancomycin is discontinued. Vancomycin appears to enhance susceptibility to colonization with C. difficile by eliminating competing intestinal organisms. The nature of these organisms is not known, but various tools are now available to aid in identifying them. Cancer chemotherapeutic agents should be added to the list of factors such as surgery and antibiotics that may predispose to emergence of C. difficile. The number of organisms required for colonization of antibiotic-treated hamsters is low and cross-infection seems to play a role in the disease in hamster colonies. The organism can be detected on surfaces in rooms of patients with the disease, and on the hands of personnel caring for them. Outbreaks of the disease have been recognized. Our results suggest isolation precautions should be used to prevent spread of the organism from patients with the disease to others being treated with antibiotics.
Fekety, R; Kim, KH; Batts, DH; Browne, RA; Cudmore, MA; Silva, J; Toshniwal, R; Wilson, KH
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