Molecular Epidemiology of Clostridioides difficile Infections in Children

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Clostridioides difficile is a prominent cause of health care-related gastrointestinal illness in adults. C. difficile infection (CDI) has been researched for over 40 years; however, research on pediatric CDI specifically has lagged behind for various reasons. Over the past decade, C. difficile has been increasingly reported as a cause of a broad spectrum of gastrointestinal diseases in children, ranging from mild self-limiting diarrhea to severe conditions such as pseudomembranous colitis and toxic megacolon. Recent publications have shown a rise in CDI incidence in children in different parts of the world, especially in patients with particular comorbidities such as hematological malignancies and inflammatory bowel disease. In addition, rising CDI rates have been reported in children in the community without traditional risk factors for CDI. Due to the extensive use of sensitive molecular detection methods to diagnose CDI in many countries, differentiating children who require treatment from those colonized with toxigenic strains remains a problem. Consequently, the molecular epidemiology of pediatric CDI is poorly understood. Even though well-known C. difficile strains causing CDI in children have been described (including hypervirulent strains such as ribotypes 027 and 078), there is a paucity of information about specific C. difficile strains. This mini-review summarizes the information that is currently available on the molecular epidemiology of CDI in children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S34-S40
JournalJournal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
Issue numberSuppl 3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


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