Epidemiology of Clostridium difficile infections in a tertiary-care hospital in Korea

J. Kim, J. O. Kang, H. Kim, M. R. Seo, T. Y. Choi, H. Pai*, E. J. Kuijper, I. Sanders, W. Fawley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


To survey healthcare-associated Clostridium difficile infection (HA-CDI) in a 900-bed tertiary-care hospital, we prospectively investigated the epidemiology of CDI and distribution of PCR-ribotypes. From February 2009 through January 2010, all patients with HA-CDI were enrolled. Epidemiological information and prescription records for antibiotics were collected. The C.difficile isolates were characterized using reference strains and were tested for antibiotic susceptibility. During the survey, incidence of HA-CDI was 71.6 per 100000 patient-days. In total, 140 C. difficile isolates were obtained from 166 patients with HA-CDI. The PCR-ribotyping yielded 38 distinct ribotypes. The three most frequently found ribotypes made up 56.4% of all isolates; they comprised 37 isolates (26.4%) of PCR-ribotype 018, 22 (15.7%) of toxin A-negative PCR-ribotype 017, and 20 (14.3%) of PCR-ribotype 001. Clostridium difficile PCR-ribotype 018 was present in all departments throughout the hospital during the 11months, whereas ribotype 017 and ribotype 001 appeared mostly in the pulmonary department. Hypervirulent C. difficile PCR-ribotype 027 was detected in 1month on two wards. The incidence of CDI in each department showed a seven-fold difference, which correlated significantly with the amount of prescribed clindamycin (R=0.783, p0.013) or moxifloxacin (R=0.733, p0.025) in the departments. The rates of resistance of the three commonest ribotypes to clindamycin and moxifloxacin were significantly higher than those of other strains (92.1% versus 38.2% and 89.5% versus 27.3%, respectively). CDI is an important nosocomially acquired infection and this study emphasizes the importance of implementing country-wide surveillance to detect and control CDI in Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-527
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the National Research Foundation of Korea (KRF-2011-0014685). We thank Thomas V. Riley for matching PCR-ribotyping with their laboratory PCR-ribotype standards. This work was presented at Chicago ICAAC, 2011


  • Antibiotic usage
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Epidemiology
  • Hospital-acquired infection
  • Ribotype


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