Background and objectives: Clostridium difficile is the etiological agent of healthcare-associated infections in adults. Recently, C. difficile is being considered as a gastrointestinal pathogen in pediatric patients. A retrospective investigation was carried out in a tertiary care hospital to look for the pediatric prevalence of C. difficile infection (CDI) in different age groups.
Materials and methods: The patient population investigated for CDI was categorized into infant group (0–2 years), early childhood group (<2–12 years) and teenage group (<12–19 years). Clinical and demographic information were retrieved from laboratory records.
Results: A data of 1033 patients (0–19 years; M:F = 667:366) the male gender was significant (p < 0.0001). Statistical significance (p < 0.0001) was observed between the three age groups (infant group, n = 241; early childhood group, n = 424; teenage group, n = 368). The major underlying ailments were gastrointestinal symptoms (31.9%) and malignancies (24.2%). C. difficile toxin (CDT) was positive in 22.07%, and significant (p = 0.000) in all the groups. Clinical symptoms were bloody diarrhea (9.87%), watery diarrhea (57.31%), fever (53.05%) and abdominal pain (34.56%). The frequency of diarrhea was significant (p > 0.0001). Antibiotic use with clinical symptoms showed significance with watery diarrhea (p = 0.000) and fever (p = 0.000). Abdominal pain was found to be significant (p = 0.007) when correlated with CDT positivity. The CDI was positive in a total of 46 (27%) patients on first follow-up (n = 170). When variables of patients in the repeat follow-up (n = 47) were compared with their primary admission data and that of first follow-up, significant difference was seen.
Conclusion: The CDI is commonly present in hospitalized pediatric patients, but clinical symptoms and suspicion can aid the final diagnosis.
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