Six articles and an accompanying editorial highlighting various aspects of Clostridium difficile infection at the European and country level
Eurosurveillance, Volume 21, Issue 29, 21 July 2016
Table of Contents
To develop a European surveillance protocol for Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), existing national CDI surveillance systems were assessed in 2011. A web-based electronic form was provided for all national coordinators of the European CDI Surveillance Network (ECDIS-Net). Of 35 national coordinators approached, 33 from 31 European countries replied. Surveillance of CDI was in place in 14 of the 31 countries, comprising 18 different nationwide systems. Three of 14 countries with CDI surveillance used public health notification of cases as the route of reporting, and in another three, reporting was limited to public health notification of cases of severe CDI. The CDI definitions published by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) were widely used, but there were differing definitions to distinguish between community- and healthcare-associated cases. All CDI surveillance systems except one reported annual national CDI rates (calculated as number of cases per patient-days). Only four surveillance systems regularly integrated microbiological data (typing and susceptibility testing results). Surveillance methods varied considerably between countries, which emphasises the need for a harmonised European protocol to allow consistent monitoring of the CDI epidemiology at European level. The results of this survey were used to develop a harmonised EU-wide hospital-based CDI surveillance protocol.
Suboptimal laboratory diagnostics for Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) impedes its surveillance and control across Europe. We evaluated changes in local laboratory CDI diagnostics and changes in national diagnostic and typing capacity for CDI during the European C. difficile Infection Surveillance Network (ECDIS-Net) project, through cross-sectional surveys in 33 European countries in 2011 and 2014. In 2011, 126 (61%) of a convenience sample of 206 laboratories in 31 countries completed a survey on local diagnostics. In 2014, 84 (67%) of these 126 laboratories in 26 countries completed a follow-up survey. Among laboratories that participated in both surveys, use of CDI diagnostics deemed ‘optimal’ or ‘acceptable’ increased from 19% to 46% and from 10% to 15%, respectively (p < 0.001). The survey of national capacity was completed by national coordinators of 31 and 32 countries in 2011 and 2014, respectively. Capacity for any C. difficile typing method increased from 22/31 countries in 2011 to 26/32 countries in 2014; for PCR ribotyping from 20/31 countries to 23/32 countries, and specifically for capillary PCR ribotyping from 7/31 countries to 16/32 countries. While our study indicates improved diagnostic capability and national capacity for capillary PCR ribotyping across European laboratories between 2011 and 2014, increased use of ‘optimal’ diagnostics should be promoted.
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) remains poorly controlled in many European countries, of which several have not yet implemented national CDI surveillance. In 2013, experts from the European CDI Surveillance Network project and from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control developed a protocol with three options of CDI surveillance for acute care hospitals: a ‘minimal’ option (aggregated hospital data), a ‘light’ option (including patient data for CDI cases) and an ‘enhanced’ option (including microbiological data on the first 10 CDI episodes per hospital). A total of 37 hospitals in 14 European countries tested these options for a three-month period (between 13 May and 1 November 2013). All 37 hospitals successfully completed the minimal surveillance option (for 1,152 patients). Clinical data were submitted for 94% (1,078/1,152) of the patients in the light option; information on CDI origin and outcome was complete for 94% (1,016/1,078) and 98% (294/300) of the patients in the light and enhanced options, respectively. The workload of the options was 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0 person-days per 10,000 hospital discharges, respectively. Enhanced surveillance was tested and was successful in 32 of the hospitals, showing that C. difficile PCR ribotype 027 was predominant (30% (79/267)). This study showed that standardised multicountry surveillance, with the option of integrating clinical and molecular data, is a feasible strategy for monitoring CDI in Europe.
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the major cause of infective diarrhoea in healthcare environments. As part of the European, multicentre, prospective, biannual, point-prevalence study of Clostridium difficile infection in hospitalised patients with diarrhoea (EUCLID), the largest C. difficile epidemiological study of its type, PCR ribotype distribution of C. difficile isolates in Europe was investigated. PCR ribotyping was performed on 1,196 C. difficile isolates from diarrhoeal samples sent to the European coordinating laboratory in 2012–13 and 2013 (from two sampling days) by 482 participating hospitals from 19 European countries. A total of 125 ribotypes were identified, of which ribotypes 027 (19%, n =222), 001/072 (11%, n = 134) and 014/020 (10%, n = 119) were the most prevalent. Distinct regional patterns of ribotype distribution were noted. Of 596 isolates from patients with toxin-positive stools (CDI cases), ribotype 027 accounted for 22% (32/144) of infections in cases aged from 18 to less than 65 years, but the prevalence decreased in those aged ≥ 65 years (14% (59/412)) and further decreased in those aged ≥ 81 years (9% (18/195)). The prevalence of ribotype 027 and 176, but not other epidemic strains, was inversely proportional to overall ribotype diversity (R2 = 0.717). This study highlights an increased diversity of C. difficile ribotypes across Europe compared with previous studies, with considerable intercountry variation in ribotype distribution. Continuous surveillance programmes are necessary to monitor the changing epidemiology of C. difficile.
There are limited national epidemiological data for community-associated (CA)-Clostridium difficile infections (CDIs). Between March 2011 and March 2013, laboratories in England submitted to the Clostridium difficile Ribotyping Network (CDRN) up to 10 diarrhoeal faecal samples from successive patients with CA-CDI, defined here as C. difficile toxin-positive diarrhoea commencing outside hospital (or less than 48 hours after hospital admission), including those cases associated with community-based residential care, with no discharge from hospital within the previous 12 weeks. Patient demographics and C. difficile PCR ribotypes were compared for CA-CDIs in our study and presumed healthcare-associated (HA) CDIs via CDRN. Ribotype diversity indices, ranking and relative prevalences were very similar in CA- vs HA-CDIs, although ribotypes 002 (p ≤ 0.0001),020 (p = 0.009) and 056 (p < 0.0001) predominated in CA-CDIs; ribotype 027 (p = 0.01) predominated in HA-CDIs. Epidemic ribotypes 027 and 078 predominated in institutional residents with CDI (including care/nursing homes) compared with people with CDI living at home. Ribotype diversity decreased with increasing age in HA-CDIs, but not in CA-CDIs. Ribotype 078 CA-CDIs were significantly more common in elderly people (3.4% (6/174) vs 8.7% (45/519) in those aged < 65 and ≥ 65 years, respectively; p = 0.019). No antibiotics were prescribed in the previous four weeks in about twofold more CA-CDI vs HAs (38.6% (129/334) vs 20.3% (1,226/6,028); p < 0.0001). We found very similar ribotype distributions in CA- and HA-CDIs, although a few ribotypes significantly predominated in one setting. These national data emphasise the close interplay between, and likely common reservoirs for, CDIs, particularly when epidemic strains are not dominant.
In 2014, 18 hospitals in the Czech Republic participated in a survey of the incidence of Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) in the country. The mean CDI incidence was 6.1 (standard deviation (SD):7.2) cases per 10,000 patient bed-days and 37.8 cases (SD: 41.4) per 10,000 admissions. The mean CDI testing frequency was 39.5 tests (SD: 25.4) per 10,000 patient bed-days and 255.8 tests (SD: 164.0) per 10,000 admissions. A total of 774 C. difficile isolates were investigated, of which 225 (29%) belonged to PCR ribotype 176, and 184 isolates (24%) belonged to PCR ribotype 001. Multilocus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) revealed 27 clonal complexes formed by 84% (190/225) of PCR ribotype 176 isolates, and 14 clonal complexes formed by 77% (141/184) of PCR ribotype 001 isolates. Clonal clusters of PCR ribotypes 176 and 001 were observed in 11 and 7 hospitals, respectively. Our data demonstrate the spread of two C. difficile PCR ribotypes within 18 hospitals in the Czech Republic, stressing the importance of standardising CDI testing protocols and implementing mandatory CDI surveillance in the country.
Eurosurveillance Edition: 21 July 2016
The opinions expressed by authors contributing to Eurosurveillance
do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) or the editorial team or the institutions with which the authors are affiliated. Neither ECDC nor any person acting on behalf of ECDC is responsible for the use that might be made of the information in this journal. The information provided on the Eurosurveillance
site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Our website does not host any form of commercial advertisement. Except where otherwise stated, all manuscripts published after 1 January 2016 will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence
. You are free to share and adapt the material, but you must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the licence, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
Eurosurveillance [ISSN 1560-7917] - ©2007-2016. All rights reserved.