Clostridium difficile: assessing the risks to Australia of an emerging healthcare-related pathogen.

This study investigates the ribotype profile of C. difficile organisms infecting a broad spectrum of hospital patients (both symptomatically and asymptomatically) and community members in Queensland and Western Australia, and associated clinical outcomes. Mathematical models are being developed to investigate the impact of C. difficile interventions, and interactions between hospitals and the community. This research will provide a much-needed evidence base to formulate effective preventive interventions for C. difficile disease.

This project is being conducted in two phases, each with their own specific aims. The first phase involves data collection via prospective studies in two major Australian cities, Brisbane and Perth.

These studies aim to determine the C. difficile ribotypes associated with hospital and community-acquired C. difficile disease in Brisbane and Perth, and changes in the ribotypes profile over three years. Additionally, the prevalence of asymptomatic C. difficile carriage in patients is being measured in two major Australian tertiary hospitals in Brisbane and Perth over a three-year period. The second phase involves building mathematical models of C. difficile transmission aiming to determine the risk of outbreaks of C. difficile disease in Brisbane and Perth and to identify and compare interventions that successfully reduce the risk of outbreaks of C. difficile disease.