Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

Food poisoning and gastroenteritis

Increasing seroprevalence of Clostridium difficile in an adult Danish general population

R. V. FENGERa1, A. LINNEBERGa1, M. TVEDEa2 and C. ØSTERGAARDa3 c1

a1 Research Centre for Prevention and Health, Copenhagen University Hospital Glostrup, the Capital Region of Denmark

a2 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark

a3 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Copenhagen University Hospital Herlev, Herlev, Denmark

SUMMARY

The incidence of Clostridium difficile-associated infections is increasing, but it remains to be defined whether any change in the seroprevalence of C. difficile has also occurred. In a population-based study of the general adult population, 734 subjects, aged 15–69 years, were examined on two occasions 8 years apart (1990 and 1998) for the presence of antibodies against C. difficile in serum. The overall seroprevalence of C. difficile increased significantly from 19% in 1990 to 27% in 1998 (P<0·0001). The seroprevalence increased with increasing age in both 1990 and 1998, but the increase was about four times higher in 1998 than in 1990. In conclusion, the observed increase in seroprevalence suggests a higher exposure to C. difficile in the general Danish adult population.

(Accepted April 15 2008)

(Online publication May 27 2008)

Correspondence:

c1 Author for correspondence: Dr C. Østergaard, Department of Clinical Microbiology, Copenhagen University Hospital Herlev, Herlev Ringvej 75, DK-2730 Herlev, Denmark. (Email: coa@ssi.dk)

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