SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
RAJABALLY, N et al. The Clostridium difficile problem: A South African tertiary institution's prospective perspective. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2013, vol.103, n.3, pp. 168-172. ISSN 2078-5135.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study is to report the incidence of Clostridium difficile-associated disease (CDAD) in a tertiary-care hospital in South Africa and to identify risk factors, assess patient outcomes and determine the impact of the hypervirulent strain of the organism referred to as North American pulsed-field type 1 (NAP1). METHODS: Adults who presented with diarrhoea over a period of 15 months were prospectively evaluated for CDAD using stool toxin enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Positive specimens were evaluated by PCR. Patient demographics, laboratory parameters and outcomes were analysed. RESULTS: CDAD was diagnosed in 59 (9.2%) of 643 patients (median age 39 years, IQR 30 - 55). Thirty-four (58%) were female. Recent antibiotic exposure was reported in 39 (66%), 27 (46%) had been hospitalised within 3 months, and 14 (24%) had concomitant inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Nineteen (32%) had community-acquired CDAD (CA-CDAD). The annual incidence of hospital-acquired CDAD (HA-CDAD) was 8.7 cases/10 000 hospitalisations. Two cases of the hypervirulent strain NAP1 were identified. Seven (12%) patients underwent colectomy (OR 6.83; 95% CI 2.41 - 19.3). On logistic regression, only antibiotic exposure independently predicted for CDAD (OR 2.9; 95% CI 1.6 - 5.1). Three (16%) cases of CA-CDAD reported antibiotic exposure (v. 90% of HA-CDAD, p<0.0001). Twelve (86%) patients had concomitant IBD (p<0.0001 v. HA-CDAD). CA-CDAD was significantly associated with antibiotic exposure (OR 0.04, 95% CI 0.01 - 0.24) and IBD (OR 9.6, 95% CI 1.15 - 79.8). CONCLUSION: The incidence of HA-CDAD in the South African setting is far lower than that reported in the West. While antibiotic use was a major risk factor for HA-CDAD, CA-CDAD was not associated with antibiotic therapy. Concurrent IBD was a predictor of CA-CDAD.