Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Clin Microbiol Infect. 2014 Dec;20(12):O1067-74. doi: 10.1111/1469-0691.12758. Epub 2014 Aug 11.

Diarrhoea in general practice: when should a Clostridium difficile infection be considered? Results of a nested case-control study.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology, LUMC, Leiden, the Netherlands.


Clostridium difficile infections (CDIs) are frequent in hospitals, but also seem to increase in the community. Here, we aim to determine the incidence of CDI in general practice and to evaluate current testing algorithms for CDI. Three Dutch laboratories tested all unformed faeces (12,714) for C. difficile when diagnostic testing (for any enteric pathogen) was requested by a general practitioner (GP). Additionally, a nested case-control study was initiated, including 152 CDI patients and 304 age and sex-matched controls. Patients were compared using weighted multivariable logistic regression. One hundred and ninety-four samples (1.5%) were positive for C. difficile (incidence 0.67/10,000 patient years). This incidence was comparable to that of Salmonella spp. Compared with diarrhoeal controls, CDI was associated with more severe complaints, underlying diseases, antibiotic use and prior hospitalization. In our study, GPs requested a test for C. difficile in 7% of the stool samples, thereby detecting 40% of all CDIs. Dutch national recommendations advise testing for C. difficile when prior antibiotic use or hospitalization is present (18% of samples). If these recommendations were followed, 61% of all CDIs would have been detected. In conclusion, C. difficile is relatively frequent in general practice. Currently, testing for C. difficile is rare and only 40% of CDI in general practice is detected. Following recommendations that are based on traditional risk factors for CDI, would improve detection of CDI.

© 2014 The Authors Clinical Microbiology and Infection © 2014 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.


Clostridium difficile infection; community; general practitioner; testing

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk