Clostridium difficile Diarrhea in Children: Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention

Jonathan D. Crews, MD


January 24, 2014

A Child With Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea

A 6-year-old boy with multiple comorbid conditions is seen in your office for fever and diarrhea. He was hospitalized 2 weeks ago for a gluteal skin abscess that was managed with surgical drainage and a 10-day course of clindamycin.

Yesterday, his fever reached 101.5°F and was associated with profuse, nonbloody diarrhea. He has not vomited, but his oral intake has decreased from baseline. Since this morning, he has already had 5 large-volume, loose stools. There are no sick contacts in the household.

His complex medical history is well known to you. He is a former 26-week premature infant who requires assisted feeding through a gastrostomy tube because of swallowing dysfunction. His medications include a proton pump inhibitor for gastroesophageal reflux disease and various inhalers for chronic lung disease of prematurity. His immunizations are up to date.

On presentation, the patient's vital signs include a temperature of 100.8°F, heart rate of 90 beats/min, respiratory rate of 20 breaths/min, and blood pressure of 105/74 mm Hg. He does not appear ill. Physical examination reveals a mildly distended abdomen and hyperactive bowel sounds, but he has no tenderness or guarding to palpation. The previous abscess site has healed.


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