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Can J Infect Dis. 2001 Mar;12(2):81-8.

N-CDAD in Canada: results of the Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program 1997 N-CDAD Prevalence Surveillance Project.

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University of Toronto, Department of Public Health Sciences, MHSc program in Community Health and Epidemiology, Toronto, Ontario.



A 1996 preproject survey among Canadian Hospital Epidemiology Committee (CHEC) sites revealed variations in the prevention, detection, management and surveillance of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD). Facilities wanted to establish national rates of nosocomially acquired CDAD (N-CDAD) to understand the impact of control or prevention measures, and the burden of N-CDAD on health care resources. The CHEC, in collaboration with the Laboratory Centre for Disease Control (Health Canada) and under the Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program, undertook a prevalence surveillance project among selected hospitals throughout Canada.


To establish national prevalence rates of N-CDAD.


For six weeks in 1997, selected CHEC sites tested all diarrheal stools from inpatients for either C difficile toxin or C difficile bacteria with evidence of toxin production. Questionnaires were completed for patients with positive stool assays who met the case definitions.


Nineteen health care facilities in eight provinces participated in the project. The overall prevalence of N-CDAD was 13.0% (95% CI 9.5% to 16.5%). The mean number of N-CDAD cases were 66.3 cases/100,000 patient days (95% CI 37.5 to 95.1) and 5.9 cases/1000 patient admissions (95% CI 3.4 to 8.4). N-CDAD was found most frequently in older patients and those who had been hospitalized for longer than two weeks in medical or surgical wards.


This national prevalence surveillance project, which established N-CDAD rates, is useful as 'benchmark' data for Canadian health care facilities, and in understanding the patterns and impact of N-CDAD.


CDAD; Canada; Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea; Hospital; Nosocomial diarrhea; Prevalence

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