Measures to control and prevent Clostridium difficile infection

Clin Infect Dis. 2008 Jan 15;46 Suppl 1:S43-9. doi: 10.1086/521861.


Control of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) outbreaks in health care facilities presents significant challenges to infection control specialists and other health care workers. C. difficile spores survive routine environmental cleaning with detergents and hand hygiene with alcohol-based gels. Enhanced cleaning of all potentially contaminated surfaces with 10% sodium hypochlorite reduces the environmental burden of C. difficile, and use of barrier precautions reduces C. difficile transmission. Thorough handwashing with chlorhexidine or with soap and water has been shown to be effective in removing C. difficile spores from hands. Achieving high-level compliance with these measures is a major challenge for infection control programs. Good antimicrobial stewardship complements infection control efforts and environmental interventions to provide a comprehensive strategy to prevent and control outbreaks of CDI. The efficacy of metronidazole or vancomycin prophylaxis to prevent CDI in patients who are receiving other antimicrobials is unproven, and treatment with these agents is ineffective against C. difficile in asymptomatic carriers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carrier State / therapy
  • Carrier State / transmission
  • Clostridium difficile*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Disinfection / methods
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / epidemiology
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / prevention & control*
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / transmission
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Gloves, Protective
  • Hand Disinfection / standards
  • Humans
  • Hygiene / standards
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Infective Agents