Clostridium difficile is the most common cause of health care-associated and antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.
These guidelines are intended to provide advice to clinicians on the clinical assessment, diagnosis and management of C. difficile infection (CDI).
Hypervirulent strains of C. difficile, including PCR ribotype 027 strains recently identified in Australia, have been associated elsewhere with epidemic spread and high rates of severe disease and death.
Diagnostic tests include stool culture, polymerase chain reaction-based assays, cell-culture cytotoxicity assays and enzyme immunoassays detecting C. difficile glutamate dehydrogenase, and/or toxin A and/or B.
To treat an initial episode and a first recurrence, metronidazole is the preferred antibiotic, with oral vancomycin reserved for severe disease and subsequent recurrences.
Surgery should be considered for fulminant disease.
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