The rising burden of Clostridioides difficile
CDI, which is known to cause severe diarrhea, pseudomembranous colitis, or toxic megacolon, not only imposes a monetary burden on both healthcare facilities and patients, but also results in prolonged patient suffering. Patients infected with C. difficile may require extended hospital stays, possible re-hospitalization, and additional medications.
Complicating efforts to manage these costly infections, CDI is changing as evidenced by: increasing virulence, rising incidence, unresponsiveness to metronidazole therapy, and worse outcomes, including death.8 In fact, deaths in the US related to C. difficile increased 400% between 2000 and 2007, in part because of the emergence of hypervirulent strains.9 Additionally, US hospital stays related to CDI tripled in the last decade, further illustrating the growing public health threat of the infection.10
The increased severity and incidence of CDI make accurate and rapid identification of the infection imperative, highlighting the need for reliable diagnostic methods to help prevent outbreaks, and identify and treat patients quickly.4,8
According to the CDC, hospitals that followed infection control recommendations lowered CDI rates by 20% in less than 2 years.10 Microbiology labs are an essential part of timely and accurate reporting of CDI, enabling clinicians to provide appropriate therapy and improve patient management.