Research Article

Clostridium difficile in association with sporadic diarrhoea.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 284 doi: (Published 23 January 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;284:230
  1. R P Brettle,
  2. I R Poxton,
  3. J M Murdoch,
  4. R Brown,
  5. M D Byrne,
  6. J G Collee


    A total of 154 patients admitted to an infectious diseases unit were included in a year's prospective survey of sporadic diarrhoeal disease. Stools from 19 of them yielded Clostridium difficile, generally on more than one occasion. Twelve of these patients were assessed as having a severe or moderately severe gastrointestinal illness: Cl difficile was the only pathogen isolated from 10 of them, and two had an associated salmonella infection. Seven had had a recent course of antibiotics, but five had not taken antibiotics. Faeces from seven patients with moderate or mild gastrointestinal illness yielded Cl difficile, and two of these patients also had an associated salmonella infection. Two patients in this group had no antibiotic history. From these findings, the occurrence of C difficile in faeces could not be described as antibiotic-associated. Faecal Cl difficile cytotoxin was detected in only six patients, and generally at low levels. In such patients a more relevant pathogenic index might take account of the numbers of Cl difficile present and of their toxigenic potential.