Has the incidence of reported Clostridium difficile (C diff) infection (CDI) increased over time?

Updated: Jul 25, 2019
  • Author: Faten N Aberra, MD, MSCE; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

The incidence of reported CDI infection continues to increase. In the 1980s, McFarland et al reported that 7% of patients admitted to a hospital and 28% of patients who were hospitalized had positive cultures for the organism. By the 1990s, the incidence of C difficile in hospitalized patients had risen to 30-40 per 100,000 population, and by 2005, to 84 per 100,000 population.

Indeed, in contrast to the incidence rates of other nosocomial infections, which declined from 2000 to 2009, the number of hospitalized patients with any CDI as a discharge diagnosis more than doubled in the same period, from approximately 139,000 to 336,600. Furthermore, the number of patients with a primary diagnosis of CDI more than tripled, from 33,000 to 111,000. [30]


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