Since data about Clostridium difficile infection in sub-Saharan Africa are scarce, we determined its epidemiology and risk factors in a cross-sectional study in Eikwe, a rural community in Ghana. We tested stool samples from 176 hospitalized patients with diarrhoea and from 131 asymptomatic non-hospitalized individuals for C. difficile and some other enteric pathogens. The overall prevalence rate of C. difficile was 4.9% with ribotype 084 being predominant. With 75% of the isolates, a high rate of nontoxigenic strains was present in symptomatic patients, most of whom had no other identified enteric pathogens. All strains were susceptible against metronidazole and vancomycin, respectively. Data on lifestyle and medical history showed that age <5years (p=0.004), and use of ceftriaxone (p=0.023) were the most important risk factors for C. difficile carriage status. Although our data suggest that C. difficile is currently not a major cause of diarrhoea in this setting, the epidemiology of C. difficile in sub-Saharan Africa awaits further investigation.
Keywords: Africa; Clostridium difficile; Epidemiology; Nontoxigenic strain.
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