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Emerg Infect Dis. 1998 Oct-Dec;4(4):619-25.

Increasing hospitalization and death possibly due to Clostridium difficile diarrheal disease.

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Southwest Center for Managed Care Research, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, USA.


This study calculated yearly estimated national hospital discharge (1985 to 1994) and age-adjusted death rates (1980 to 1992) due to bacterial, viral, protozoal, and ill-defined enteric pathogens. Infant and young child hospitalization (but not death) rates in each category increased more than 50% during 1990 to 1994. Age-adjusted death and hospitalization rates due to enteric bacterial infections and hospitalizations due to enteric viral infections have increased since 1988. The increases in hospitalization and death rates from enteric bacterial infections were due to a more than eightfold increase in rates for specified enteric bacterial infections that were uncoded during this period (ICD9 00849). To identify bacterial agents responsible for most of these infections, hospital discharges and outpatient claims (coded with more detail after 1992) were examined for New Mexico's Lovelace Health Systems for 1993 to 1996. Of diseases due to uncoded enteric pathogens, 73% were due to Clostridium difficile infection. Also, 88% of Washington State death certificates (1985 to 1996) coded to unspecified enteric pathogen infections (ICD0084) listed C. difficile infection.

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