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Clostridium difficile Outbreak Strain BI Is Highly Endemic in Chicago Area Hospitals

  • Stephanie R. Black (a1), Kingsley N. Weaver (a1), Roderick C. Jones (a1), Kathleen A. Ritger (a1), Laurica A. Petrella (a2), Susan P. Sambol (a2), Michael Vernon (a3), Stephanie Burton (a4), Sylvia Garcia-Houchins (a4), Stephen G. Weber (a4), Mary Alice Lavin (a5), Dale Gerding (a2), Stuart Johnson (a2) and Susan I. Gerber (a3)...

Describe the clinical and molecular epidemiology of incident Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) cases in Chicago area acute healthcare facilities (HCFs).

Design and Setting.

Laboratory, clinical, and epidemiologic information was collected for patients with incident CDI who were admitted to acute HCFs in February 2009. Stool cultures and restriction endonuclease analysis typing of the recovered C. difficile isolates was performed.


Two hundred sixty-three patients from 25 acute HCFs.


Acute HCF rates ranged from 2 to 7 patients with CDI per 10,000 patient-days. The crude mortality rate was 8%, with 20 deaths occurring in patients with CDI. Forty-two (16%) patients had complications from CDI, including 4 patients who required partial, subtotal, or total colectomy, 3 of whom died. C. difficile was isolated and typed from 129 of 178 available stool specimens. The BI strain was identified in 79 (61%) isolates. Of patients discharged to long-term care who had their isolate typed, 36 (67%) had BI-associated CDI.


Severe disease was common and crude mortality was substantial among patients with CDI in Chicago area acute HCFs in February 2009. The outbreak-associated BI strain was the predominant endemic strain identified, accounting for nearly two-thirds of cases. Focal HCF outbreaks were not reported, despite the presence of the BI strain. Transfer of patients between acute and long-term HCFs may have contributed to the high incidence of BI cases in this investigation.

Corresponding author
2160 West Ogden Avenue, Chicago, IL 60612 (
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Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 0899-823X
  • EISSN: 1559-6834
  • URL: /core/journals/infection-control-and-hospital-epidemiology
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