Asymptomatic carriage of toxigenic Clostridium difficile by hospitalized patients
Summary Asymptomatic carriage of Clostridium difficile is common in hospitals, but the risk for transmission by carriers is unclear. In this point prevalence culture survey of asymptomatic hospitalized patients, 18 of 149 (12%) were carriers of toxigenic C. difficile . By comparison with C. difficile infection (CDI) patients, the prevalence of skin and/or environmental contamination was significantly lower in asymptomatic carriers (3/18, 17% versus 5/6, 83%; P = 0.007), but carriers outnumbered CDI patients in the hospital by a factor of 3 to 1. These data suggest that asymptomatic carriers have the potential to contribute to C. difficile transmission in hospitals.