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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI): Overview, Laboratory Tests and Updated Guidelines.. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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CDI: Healthcare Facts and Statistics

The following is a summary of the healthcare-related facts and statistics on CDI:
  • C diff bacterium is ubiquitous in nature and especially prevalent in soil. In 2-5% of the adult population, the bacterium may become established in the human colon. C diff can be transmitted from person to person by the fecal-oral route.
  • Annually in the U.S. approximately a half million individuals become ill from the C diff bacteria and an estimated 29,000 deaths occur within 30 days of the initial diagnosis. In recent years in the U.S and other countries, C diff infections (CDIs) have become more frequent, severe and difficult to treat. CDI is now the most common cause of diarrhea in people who develop diarrheal symptoms while hospitalized.
  • CDI differs from most other infections because it typically occurs after treatment with antibiotics. With the increased use of antibiotics, the incidence of CDI has increased over the past two decades and now makes up about 20% of the antibiotic-associated diarrhea. It is estimated that CDI costs the United States healthcare system $5 billion every year.
  • CDI is a global problem occurring in all areas of the world. Rates of the infection globally have increased between 2001 and 2016. It appears that women are more often affected than men.
  • The increased incidence and severity of CDI observed in the U.S. and other countries have been attributed to the emergence of a new strain (strain 027) of Clostridium difficile, which appears to be more virulent than other strains.