Virulent C. difficile now home grown

THE more virulent strain of Clostridium difficile responsible for a surge in infection across Europe and North America has arrived in Australia, with the first cases of local transmission reported.

In a Melbourne hospital in early 2010, an 83-year-old man developed diarrhoea as he was recovering from heart surgery, with several other patients soon following. Lab tests confirmed C. difficile ribotype 027 infection, researchers said.

The strain was first identified in Australia in 2009 when a sicktraveller returned to WA from the US.

“The first isolate in Australia was from a patient that had been in hospital overseas, but the strain that we saw last year… seemed to be home grown and was then detected in a few other patients,” Dr Rhonda Stuart, medical director of Infection Control and Epidemiology at the Monash Medical Centre, Southern Health, told MO.

There have since been additional clusters of infection with the