Clostridioides difficile infection monitoring in Australia
Clostridioides difficile (also known as Clostridium difficile) is an anaerobic, spore-forming, gram-positive bacterium typically associated with gastrointestinal disease. The Commission has developed a range of resources and reports to support prevention and containment of Clostridioides difficile.
This bacterium is ubiquitous in the natural environment as well as in healthcare environments, where there is potential for it to be spread between individuals through direct or indirect contact. Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is often linked to prolonged and unnecessary use of antimicrobial therapy.
Monitoring the burden of CDI in Australian public hospitals
The Commission has monitored the national burden of Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) in Australian public hospitals each year since 2016. This work contributes to building a better understanding of the burden of CDI acquisition in the community and informs the development of appropriate measures to prevent and limit the spread of CDI in both the community and healthcare settings.
The technical reports below describes work undertaken by the Commission in recent years to establish a model to monitor national prevalence of CDI in Australian health service organisations.
Data Snapshot reports
The Commission produces an annual snapshot report on the national prevalence of CDI in Australian public hospitals and monitors monitor the changes in CDI epidemiology of CDI across the country.
Prevention and control of CDI
There are a number of strategies that health service organisations can implement to prevent and control the transmission of CDI. Many of these strategies may also be applicable in the community/ primary healthcare settings.
Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programs are an important strategy that can assist in reducing the risk of CDI. While antimicrobials are the first line treatment for CDI, inappropriate antimicrobial use increases the risk of developing CDI for many patients. For more information on AMS programs, see the Antimicrobial Stewardship in Australian Health Care book.
Infection prevention and control strategies that include use of standard and transmission-based precautions for all patients with diarrhoea. These include ensuring that patients with diarrhoea are allocated single rooms with dedicated ensuites where possible, and implementing high quality environmental cleaning programs to help to reduce the risk of CDI transmission in the healthcare setting. The following resources can be used to help prevent and control the transmission of CDI in health services organisations.
- Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare
- Patient placement guide
- Standard and transmission-based precaution signage
- Environmental cleaning resources
- National Hand Hygiene Initiative
Information and resources for healthcare workers
A number of resources are available to support Australian healthcare workers manage, treat and control CDI:
- CDI consumer factsheet brochure
- ASID updated guidelines for the management of Clostridium difficile infection in adults and children in Australia and New Zealand (IMJ April 2016)
- ASID (HICSIG) / AICA Position Statement: Infection Control Guidelines for Patients with Clostridium difficile Infection in Healthcare Settings (Healthcare Infection Feb 2011)
- Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of Clostridium difficile infection (April 2011)
- ASID/ACIPC position statement Infection control for patients with Clostridium difficile infection in healthcare facilities (2018)
Active surveillance of CDI within hospitals is imperative for the early detection and control of CDI outbreaks. The Commission has produced a surveillance implementation guide for CDI to support Australian hospitals in undertaking surveillance and reporting of CDI.
Learn more about the Commission’s work on CDI surveillance