Clostridium difficile is the primary cause of antibiotic associated diarrhoea globally. In the UK there has been a decline in the prevalence of C. difficile due to implementation of surveillance and infection control procedures. At Rideout Hospital, USA, however, there is a high incidence of C. difficile infection, which has been partly attributed to poor infection control measures. Other factors include the ability of spores to adhere to fomites such as surgical gowns. It has been demonstrated that the single-use polypropylene surgical gowns used at Rideout can ‘trap’ hydrophobic epidemic spores of C. difficile within the fibres, which can then be transferred to stainless steel surfaces and hospital floor vinyl; even with use of appropriate sporicides such as sodium dichloroisocyanurate. This study sought to establish the strains of C. difficile present on the gowns and thus inside the nosocomial environment. Contaminated gowns from Rideout were cultured for 5 days anaerobically in Brain –Heart Infusion broth supplemented with 0.1 % Sodium taurocholate. Broth culture was screened for the presence of C. difficile using CCFA media, C. DIFF QUIK CHEK COMPLETE®, 16 s-23s RNA analysis and toxin PCR. Once isolated, strains were sequenced and tested for biocide susceptibility to in-use concentrations of Sodium dichloroisocyanurate. In total 23 suspected C. difficile samples were isolated from the gowns; of which 8 were confirmed. Sporicide susceptibility testing is ongoing. Once infective strains have been identified measures can be taken to enforce appropriate infection control procedures in order to limit the prevalence of spores and reduce infection rates.



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Organisational Unit

School of Biomedical Sciences


Clostridium difficile, Infection Control, Spores