Complete restriction of fluoroquinolone use to control an outbreak of Clostridium difficile infection at a community hospital

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2009 Mar;30(3):264-72. doi: 10.1086/595694.


Objective: To review the effect of interventions, including a complete restriction in the use of fluoroquinolones (FQs), used to control an outbreak of hospital-onset Clostridium difficile infection (HO-CDI) caused primarily by the epidemic North American pulsed-field gel electrophoresis type 1 strain.

Design: Retrospective cohort and case-control study of all episodes of HO-CDI both before and after 2 interventions.

Setting: Community hospital; January 1, 2005, through March 31, 2007. Interventions. Complete, 5-month, facility-wide restriction of fluoroquinolone use, during which a change in the environmental-services contractor occurred.

Results: During a 27-month period, 319 episodes of HO-CDI occurred. The hospital-wide mean defined daily doses of antimicrobials decreased 22% after restricting FQ use, primarily because of a 66% decrease in the use of FQs. The interventions were also associated with a significant change in the HO-CDI incidence trends and with an absolute decrease of 22% in HO-CDI cases caused by the epidemic strain (from 66% before the intervention period to 44% during and after the intervention period; P=.02). Univariate analysis revealed that case patients with HO-CDI due to the epidemic strain were more likely than control patients, who did not have diarrhea, to receive a FQ, whereas case patients with HO-CDI due to a nonepidemic strain were not. However, FQ use was not significantly associated with HO-CDI in multivariable analysis.

Conclusions: An outbreak of epidemic-strain HO-CDI was controlled at a community hospital after an overall decrease in antimicrobial use, primarily because of a restriction of FQ use and a change in environmental-services contractors. The restriction of FQ use may be useful as an adjunct control measure in a healthcare facilities during outbreaks of epidemic-strain HO-CDI.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Clostridioides difficile / physiology*
  • Clostridium Infections / drug therapy*
  • Clostridium Infections / epidemiology
  • Clostridium Infections / prevention & control
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Fluoroquinolones / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Fluoroquinolones