Clinical and microbiological characterization ofClostridium difficileinfection in a tertiary care hospital in Shanghai, China

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Over the last decade, Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has emerged as a significant nosocomial infection, yet little has been reported from China. This study aimed to characterize the clinical and microbiological features of CDI from a hospital in Shanghai.


Patients with CDI seen between December 2010 and March 2013 were included in this study, of which clinical data were retrospectively collected. The microbiological features of corresponding isolates were analyzed including genotype by multi-locus sequence typing (MLST), antimicrobial susceptibility, toxin production, sporulation capacity, biofilm formation, and motility.


Ninety-four cases of CDI were included during this study period, 12 of whom were severe cases. By reviewing the clinical data, all patients were treated empirically with proton pump inhibitor or antibiotics or both, and they were distributed widely across various wards, most frequently to the digestive ward (28/94, 29.79%). Comparing the severe with mild cases, no significant differences were found in the basic epidemiological data or the microbiological features. Among the 94 isolates, 31 were toxin A-negative toxin B-positive all genotyped as ST37. They generated fewer toxins and spores, as well as similar amounts of biofilm and motility percentages, but exhibited highest drug resistance to cephalosporins, quinolones, macrolide-lincosamide and streptogramin (MLSB), and tetracycline.


No specific clinical genotype or microbiological features were found in severe cases; antimicrobial resistance could be the primary reason for epidemic strains leading to the dissemination and persistence of CDI.

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