Objectives: Clostridium difficile, a common cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea, has been reported to recur in high rates in adults. The rates and risk factors for recurrent C difficile infection (rCDI) in children have not been well established.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 186 pediatric patients seen at a tertiary care referral center for a 5-year period diagnosed as having a primary C difficile infection. Children with recurrent disease, defined as return of symptoms of C difficile infection and positive testing ≤60 days after the completion of therapy, were compared with children who did not experience an episode of recurrence.
Results: Of the 186 pediatric patients included in this study, 41 (22%) experienced rCDI. On univariable analysis, factors significantly associated with rCDI included malignancy, recent hospitalization, recent surgery, antibiotic use, number of antibiotic exposures by class, acid blocker use, immunosuppressant use, and hospital-acquired disease. On multivariable analysis, malignancy (odds ratio [OR] 3.39, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.52-7.85), recent surgery (OR 2.40, 95% CI 1.05-5.52), and the number of antibiotic exposures by class (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.01-1.75) were significantly associated with recurrent disease in children.
Conclusions: The rate of rCDI in children was 22%. Recurrence was significantly associated with the risk factors of malignancy, recent surgery, and the number of antibiotic exposures by class.