Pediatric C. difficile-Related Hospitalizations Increasing

Study finds incidence lowest in newborns and highest in children aged 1 to 4 years
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- In U.S. hospitals, the incidence of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in the pediatric population appears to be increasing, according to a study published online ahead of print in the April 4 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Marya D. Zilberberg, M.D., of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and colleagues performed a time-series analysis of 1997 to 2006 data from the Kids' Inpatient Database within the Health Care Cost and Utilization Project and a cross-sectional analysis of 2006 data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey.

Between 1997 and 2006, the researchers found that the rate of pediatric CDI-related hospitalizations per 10,000 hospitalizations increased from 7.24 to 12.80. Although they found that newborns had the lowest incidence (0.5), they found that children younger than 1 year of age and children aged 5 to 9 years had a similar incidence (32.01 and 35.27, respectively), and children aged 1 to 4 years had the highest incidence (44.87).

"The low incidence of CDI-related hospitalizations among newborns reflects current recommendations against routine testing and may support the concept that C. difficile does not cause disease among neonates," the authors conclude. "In contrast, the relatively high rate of CDI-related hospitalizations among non-newborn infants indicates an urgent need for studies to determine how often C. difficile causes true disease in this population."

One author received grant support from ViroPharma Inc. Another author serves as a health services researcher at EviMed Research Group L.L.C.

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