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This article is part of the supplement: International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC 2011)

Open Access Poster presentation

Absence of Clostridium difficile stool carriage in asymptomatic volunteers

M Hell1*, K Sickau1, G Chmelizek1, JM Kern2, M Maass2, S Huhulescu3 and F Allerberger3

  • * Corresponding author: M Hell

Author Affiliations

1 Dep.of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, University Hospital Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria

2 Institut of Hygiene, microbiology and infectious diseases, University Hospital Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria

3 National Reference Laboratory for Clostridium difficile, Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), Vienna, Austria

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BMC Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 6):P183  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-5-S6-P183

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1753-6561/5/S6/P183


Published:29 June 2011

© 2011 Hell et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Introduction / objectives

Clostridium difficile is considered a leading cause of hospital-acquired diarrhea. Currently there are published case-reports of symptomatic Health-Care-Workers (HCW) and one report demonstrating transmission of C. diff from patient to HCW. Therefore, we initiated a prospective study to evaluate the prevalence of asymptomatic C. difficile stool carriage among healthcare workers at a single university hospital comparing them to non-healthcare workers to asses the risk for HCW’s acquiring Clostridium difficile.

Methods

The study population consisted of 113 healthy HCW’s of clinical departments with a high incidence of CDI in inpatients. The 128 controls were taken from the administration department of a Food Company and from frozen stool samples of healthy subjects from a colon cancer screening program. Both groups were comparable in age-and sex-distribution. From April to July 2010, in total 241 stool specimens were tested for toxigenic culture of C diff.. 51% of stool samples (58/113) of the study population and all control-samples (n=128) were confirmed by broth enrichment technique at the National Reference Laboratory for C. difficile in Vienna.

Results

Both investigated study-groups (n-total = 241) were negative for Clostridium difficile by both culture techniques (direct plating and broth enrichment method).

Conclusion

We conclude, therefore, that healthy HCWs are probably not at risk for aquiring C diff spores from contacts with CDI-patients. They are themselves no risk for spreading C. diff spores in health-care facilities. Data about C.diff carriage in the community (up to 3%) demonstrates a possible overestimation.

Disclosure of interest

None declared.