Epidemiology of colitis induced by Clostridium difficile in hamsters: application of a bacteriophage and bacteriocin typing system

J Infect Dis. 1984 May;149(5):775-80. doi: 10.1093/infdis/149.5.775.


The epidemiology of colitis induced by Clostridium difficile in hamsters was studied with a new bacteriophage and bacteriocin typing system. Fatal enterocolitis was induced by administration of N-formimidoyl thienamycin. Environmental cultures were obtained repeatedly throughout the experiments. Thirteen percent of 90 healthy hamsters were already colonized with C difficile on arrival from the supplier. Mortality from enterocolitis after antibiotic administration was 75% and was not diminished by use of a laminar-flow facility. The same uncommon bacteriocin type (83/1309/2329) of toxigenic C difficile that colonized hamsters on arrival was recovered from the cecal contents of all hamsters dying with enterocolitis and from most environmental isolates. Previously uncolonized , antibiotic-treated hamsters placed into cages where animals had died from enterocolitis also developed enterocolitis with the same bacteriocin type (83/1309/2329), an outcome suggesting acquisition of C difficile from the environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Bacteriocins / pharmacology
  • Bacteriophage Typing
  • Cecum / microbiology*
  • Clostridium / classification*
  • Clostridium / growth & development
  • Clostridium / isolation & purification
  • Clostridium Infections / microbiology*
  • Cricetinae
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / etiology
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / microbiology*
  • Imipenem
  • Male
  • Mesocricetus
  • Thienamycins / adverse effects*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacteriocins
  • Thienamycins
  • Imipenem