Investigation of potentially pathogenic Clostridium difficile contamination in household environs

Anaerobe. 2014 Jun:27:31-3. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2014.03.002. Epub 2014 Mar 19.


As Clostridium difficile spores are resistant to many household cleaning products, the potential for community household contamination is high. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of toxigenic C. difficile from environmental sources from a large urban area. Three to 5 household items or environmental dust was collected from 30 houses in Houston, Texas. A total of 127 environmental samples were collected from shoe bottoms (n = 63), bathroom surfaces (n = 15), house floor dusts (n = 12), or other household surfaces (n = 37). Forty one of 127 samples (32.3%) grew C. difficile. All 41 isolates were positive for toxin A and B genes and no isolate was positive for binary toxin genes. Shoe bottom swab samples had the highest percent of positive samples (25/63; 39.7%) followed by bathroom/toilet surfaces (5/15; 33.3%), house floor dust (4/12; 33.3%), and other surface swabs (7/37; 18.9%). Strains were grouped into 25 different ribotypes, the most prevalent type was 001 (5 strains). In conclusion, a high rate of environmental contamination of C. difficile was observed from community households from a large urban area.

Keywords: Anaerobic infections; Community households; Environmental study; Epidemiology; Spores.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Toxins / genetics
  • Clostridioides difficile / classification
  • Clostridioides difficile / genetics
  • Clostridioides difficile / isolation & purification*
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Ribotyping
  • Spores, Bacterial / isolation & purification*
  • Texas
  • Urban Population


  • Bacterial Toxins