Clostridium difficile in south-east Scotland: An analysis of severe, recurrent and community-associated disease with a report on the emergence of PCR ribotype 078
Taori, Surabhi Kamal
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has proven to be a constantly evolving disease periodically posing new diagnostic and clinical dilemmas. Different regions of the world have reported specific local genomic characteristics of the infecting strains, which may be related to variation in disease presentation and outcome. This study was performed to determine the clinical and molecular features of severe, recurrent and community-associated disease in the Lothian region of Scotland, UK among patients diagnosed from August 2010-July 2011. Three hundred and thirty-five patients with laboratory confirmed CDI were studied for epidemiological features, clinical presentation, and laboratory markers. They were followed up for one year to determine recurrence and mortality. Four hundred and thirty-two episodes were recorded. Ribotypes, presence of toxin genes and MLVA subtypes of isolates from these episodes were determined. During the course of the study, PCR ribotype 078 was identified as an important emerging type and concerns of “hypervirulence” were raised when an outbreak was recorded in 2012. This ribotype was studied to compare its clinical and molecular characteristics with other endemic ribotypes and between its own outbreak-related and endemic subtypes. Asymptomatic children were also sampled to determine their role as pools of potential pathogens. Severe episodes accounted for 40.4% of total and 29.3% patients had multiple episodes on record. One-year mortality was 32.8% of which CDI was listed on 25.5% death certificates. Ribotype 078 was confirmed in 6.8% episodes. Community-associated disease was identified in 25.3% patients, which differed significantly from hospital-associated disease in the number of antibiotics and gastrointestinal manipulation prior to CDI. Endemic PCR ribotype 078 caused significantly less recurrent disease and more community- associated disease when compared to the most prevalent ribotype 001. Patients who died from ribotype 078 within 30d had a lower Charlson comorbidity index than ribotype 001 counterparts suggesting that the former may infect healthier patients. MLVA subtyping of ribotype 078 proved useful in identifying epidemiological relationships during the outbreak. CDI had contributed to the death of 50% of all patients infected with the outbreak related ribotype 078 strain compared to 14.3% of those infected with the endemic strains. This study documents the changing epidemiology of CDI in the region and demonstrates differences in epidemic and endemic disease.