(HealthDay News) – Nearly one in ten patients have asymptomatic Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) colonization at the time of hospital admission, according to a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

Surbhi Leekha, MBBS, MPH, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and colleagues enrolled 320 adults admitted to a tertiary care hospital without symptoms of C. difficile infection. The first stool sample after admission was tested for toxigenic C. difficile using polymerase chain reaction. Interviews and chart reviews were used to obtain clinical data.

The researchers found that 9.7% of patients were positive for toxigenic C. difficile. Recent hospitalization (odds ratio [OR], 2.45), chronic dialysis (OR, 8.12), and corticosteroid use (OR, 3.09) were identified as significant, independent predictors of C. difficile colonization, on multivariate analysis. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of C. difficile carriers could be identified by screening patients with risk factors (48% of participants).

“Asymptomatic C. difficile colonization at hospital admission was detected in nearly one of 10 patients. The majority of colonized patients had one or more identifiable risk factors,” the authors write. “These data could provide the basis for designing studies of targeted surveillance for C. difficile.”

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