Clostridium difficile infection in children: epidemiology and risk of recurrence in a low-prevalence country

A. L O Vecchio, Laura Lancella, Claudia Tagliabue, C. de Giacomo, Silvia Garazzino, M. Mainetti, Laura Cursi, E. Borali, M. V. de Vita, Elena Boccuzzi, L. Castellazzi, Susanna Esposito, A. Guarino

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Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is increasingly found in children worldwide, but limited data are available from children living in southern Europe. A 6-year retrospective study was performed to investigate the epidemiology, clinical features, treatment, and risk of recurrence in Italy. Data of children with community- and hospital-acquired CDI (CA-CDI and HA-CDI, respectively) seen at seven pediatric referral centers in Italy were recorded retrospectively. Annual infection rates/10,000 hospital admissions were calculated. Logistic regression was used to investigate risk factors for recurrence. A total of 177 CDI episodes was reported in 148 children (83 males, median age 55.3 months), with a cumulative infection rate of 2.25/10,000 admissions, with no significant variability over time. The majority of children (60.8 %) had CA-CDI. Children with HA-CDI (39.2 %) had a longer duration of symptoms and hospitalization (p = 0.003) and a more common previous use of antibiotics (p = 0.0001). Metronidazole was used in 70.7 % of cases (87/123) and vancomycin in 29.3 % (36/123), with similar success rates. Recurrence occurred in 16 children (10.8 %), and 3 (2 %) of them presented a further treatment failure. The use of metronidazole was associated with a 5-fold increase in the risk of recurrence [odds ratio (OR) 5.18, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.1–23.8, p = 0.03]. Short bowel syndrome was the only underlying condition associated with treatment failure (OR 5.29, 95 % CI 1.17–23.8, p = 0.03). The incidence of pediatric CDI in Italy is low and substantially stable. In this setting, there is a limited risk of recurrence, which mainly concerns children treated with oral metronidazole and those with short bowel syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-185
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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