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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e25754. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025754. Epub 2011 Oct 25.

Hypervirulent Clostridium difficile PCR-ribotypes exhibit resistance to widely used disinfectants.

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Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.


The increased prevalence of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has coincided with enhanced transmissibility and severity of disease, which is often linked to two distinct clonal lineages designated PCR-ribotype 027 and 017 responsible for CDI outbreaks in the USA, Europe and Asia. We assessed sporulation and susceptibility of three PCR-ribotypes; 012, 017 and 027 to four classes of disinfectants; chlorine releasing agents (CRAs), peroxygens, quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC) and biguanides. The 017 PCR-ribotype, showed the highest sporulation frequency under these test conditions. The oxidizing biocides and CRAs were the most efficacious in decontamination of C. difficile vegetative cells and spores, the efficacy of the CRAs were concentration dependent irrespective of PCR-ribotype. However, there were differences observed in the susceptibility of the PCR-ribotypes, independent of the concentrations tested for Virkon®, Newgenn®, Proceine 40® and Hibiscrub®. Whereas, for Steri7® and Biocleanse® the difference observed between the disinfectants were dependent on both PCR-ribotype and concentration. The oxidizing agent Perasafe® was consistently efficacious across all three PCR ribotypes at varying concentrations; with a consistent five Log10 reduction in spore titre. The PCR-ribotype and concentration dependent differences in the efficacy of the disinfectants in this study indicate that disinfectant choice is a factor for llimiting the survival and transmission of C. difficile spores in healthcare settings.

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