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There are limited national epidemiological data for community-associated (CA)- infections (CDIs). Between March 2011 and March 2013, laboratories in England submitted to the Ribotyping Network (CDRN) up to 10 diarrhoeal faecal samples from successive patients with CA-CDI, defined here as 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 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.


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