Patient and Strain Characteristics Associated With Clostridium difficile Transmission and Adverse Outcomes.
Martin JSH., Eyre DW., Fawley WN., Griffiths D., Davies K., Mawer DPC., Peto TEA., Crook DW., Walker AS., Wilcox MH.
Background: No study has used whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to investigate risk factors for Clostridium difficile (CD) transmission between cases, or assessed the impact of recent acquisition on patient outcome. Methods: This 20 month retrospective cohort study included consecutive cytotoxin-positive diarrheal samples, which underwent culture, ribotyping, and WGS (Illumina). Sequenced isolates were compared using single nucleotide variants (SNVs). Independent predictors of acquisition from another case, onward transmission, 120-day recurrence, and 30-day mortality were identified using logistic regression with backwards elimination. Results: Of 660 CD cases, 640 (97%) were sequenced, of which 567 (89%) shared a ribotype with a prior case, but only 227 (35%) were ≤2 SNVs from a prior case, supporting recent acquisition. Plausible (<2 SNVs) recent ward-based acquisition from a symptomatic case was more frequent in certain ribotypes; 64% (67/105) for ribotype-027 cases, compared with 11% (6/57) for ribotype-078. Independent risk factors (adjusted P < .05) for CD acquisition included older age, longer inpatient duration, and ribotype; these factors, and male sex, increased onward transmission. Patients with a plausible donor had a greater risk of recurrence (adjusted P = .001) and trended towards greater 30-day mortality (adjusted P = .06). Ribotype had no additional mortality or recurrence impact after adjusting for acquisition (P > .1). Conclusions: Greater transmission of certain lineages suggests CD may have different reservoirs and modes of transmission. Acquiring CD from a recent case is associated with poorer clinical outcomes. Clinical characteristics associated with increased healthcare-associated CD transmission could be used to target preventative interventions.