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Biol Neonate. 1993;63(4):225-9.

Prevalence and toxigenicity of Clostridium difficile isolates in fecal microflora of preterm infants in the intensive care nursery.

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George Washington University Hospital, Newborn Service, Washington, D.C. 20037.


Fecal isolates of Clostridium difficile and its toxin B were followed prospectively in 50 preterm intensive care nursery (ICN) patients. The first stool specimen was obtained after 1 week of enteral feeding, at 15 +/- 1 days of life, and 2 more specimens were collected at 2-week intervals, 24 +/- 1 and 32 +/- 2 days of life. The stools were cultured for C. difficile, and tested for C. difficile toxin B. In the first specimen 15% of stools grew C. difficile. In the second specimen C. difficile isolation rates increased to 33% and plateaued. Toxin B was detected in 71, 93 and 100% of culture-positive stools in the first, second, and third specimens, respectively. C. difficile colonization was not associated with a higher incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis or diarrhea, and using precollected, frozen human milk did not protect from C. difficile colonization.

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