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Epidemiol Infect. 2010 Aug;138(8):1100-4. doi: 10.1017/S0950268809991312. Epub 2009 Dec 2.

Evaluation of Clostridium difficile in dogs and the household environment.

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Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.


Clostridium difficile may be an emerging community-associated pathogen but little is known about its sources of exposure. This study evaluated C. difficile contamination in households and colonization of pets. C. difficile was isolated from 44/836 (5.3%) sites in 26/84 (31%) households. Ribotype 027 was the most common (25%) environmental strain. C. difficile was isolated from 14/139 (10%) dogs. Living with an immunocompromised individual was associated with C. difficile colonization in dogs. All toxigenic strains identified in pets have been isolated from humans in Ontario. C. difficile was isolated concurrently from dogs and the environment in four households, but in all cases canine and environmental ribotypes were different. C. difficile was relatively common in households, suggesting that exposure to this pathogen may be a regular event. There was no evidence that dogs are a significant source of household C. difficile contamination.

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