Clostridium difficile infection among children across diverse us geographic locations

Joyanna M. Wendt, Jessica A. Cohen, Yi Mu, Ghinwa K. Dumyati, John R. Dunn, Stacy M. Holzbauer, Lisa G. Winston, Helen L. Johnston, James I. Meek, Monica M. Farley, Lucy E. Wilson, Erin C. Phipps, Zintars G. Beldavs, Dale N. Gerding, Clifford McDonald, Carolyn V. Gould, Fernanda C. Lessa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Little is known about the epidemiology of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) among children, particularly children #3 years of age in whom colonization is common but pathogenicity uncertain. We sought to describe pediatric CDI incidence, clinical presentation, and outcomes across age groups. METHODS: Data from an active population- and laboratory-based CDI surveillance in 10 US geographic areas during 2010-2011 were used to identify cases (ie, residents with C difficile-positive stool without a positive test in the previous 8 weeks). Community-associated (CA) cases had stool collected as outpatients or #3 days after hospital admission and no overnight health care facility stay in the previous 12 weeks. A convenience sample of CA cases were interviewed. Demographic, exposure, and clinical data for cases aged 1 to 17 years were compared across 4 age groups: 1 year, 2 to 3 years, 4 to 9 years, and 10 to 17 years. RESULTS: Of 944 pediatric CDI cases identified, 71% were CA. CDI incidence per 100 000 children was highest among 1-year-old (66.3) and white (23.9) cases. The proportion of cases with documented diarrhea (72%) or severe disease (8%) was similar across age groups; no cases died. Among the 84 cases interviewed who reported diarrhea on the day of stool collection, 73% received antibiotics during the previous 12 weeks. CONCLUSIONS: Similar disease severity across age groups suggests an etiologic role for C difficile in the high rates of CDI observed in younger children. Prevention efforts to reduce unnecessary antimicrobial use among young children in outpatient settings should be prioritized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-658
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014


  • Antimicrobial stewardship
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Community-associated
  • Pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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