Emergence of community-acquired Clostridium difficile infection: the experience of a French hospital and review of the literature

Int J Infect Dis. 2015 Aug:37:36-41. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2015.06.007. Epub 2015 Jun 17.


Background: Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is a common cause of nosocomial diarrhoea. People in the general community are not usually considered to be at risk of CDI. CDI is associated with a high risk of morbidity and mortality. The risk of severity is defined by the Clostridium Severity Index (CSI).

Methods: The cases of 136 adult patients with CDI treated at the University Hospital of Tours, France between 2008 and 2012 are described. This was a retrospective study.

Results: Among the 136 patients included, 62 were men and 74 were women. Their median age was 64.4 years (range 18-97 years). Twenty-six of the 136 (19%) cases were community-acquired (CA) and 110 (81%) were healthcare-acquired (HCA). The major risk factors for both groups were long-term treatment with proton pump inhibitors (54% of CA, 53% of HCA patients) and antibiotic treatment within the 2.5 months preceding the CDI (50% of CA, 91% of HCA). The CSI was higher in the CA-CDI group (1.56) than in the HCA-CDI group (1.39). Intensive care was required for 8% of CA-CDI and 16.5% of HCA-CDI patients.

Conclusions: CDI can cause community-acquired diarrhoea, and CA-CDI may be more severe than HCA-CDI. Prospective studies of CDI involving people from the general community without risk factors are required to confirm this observation.

Keywords: Clostridium Severity Index score; Clostridium difficile; Community infection; Proton pump inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Clostridioides difficile / immunology
  • Clostridioides difficile / isolation & purification*
  • Clostridium Infections / embryology*
  • Clostridium Infections / mortality
  • Community-Acquired Infections / epidemiology*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / mortality
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / mortality
  • Diarrhea / epidemiology
  • Diarrhea / virology
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult