May 1, 2017

Clue to recurrent C. diff infection

Children who experience recurrent C. diff infections may have fecal inflammatory markers that could predict risk and improve management of these infections.

by Sanjay Mishra

Diarrhea caused by Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) increasingly afflicts some children and adults. In 20 percent of patients, CDI will recur after therapy.

It is not well understood what makes some patients more vulnerable to recurrence. By identifying the risk factors for recurrent CDI, medical professionals can better manage this increasingly common infection.

Now in a study published this month in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, Maribeth Nicholson, M.D., MPH, and colleagues report that children who experience recurrent CDI may have higher fecal inflammatory markers including lactoferrin, calprotectin and IL-8.

Of 27 children with CDI who were monitored for 60 days, eight (30 percent) had recurrent CDI. Among these children there was a trend towards increased fecal inflammatory markers, although these values were also notably lower in children on immunosuppression or with a diagnosis of malignancy.

Further study of these inflammatory markers is needed to determine their value in predicting the risk for recurrent CDI in children, the researchers concluded.

This study was partially supported by the Thrasher Early Career Award and by grants from the National Institutes of Health (DK007673, TR000445).

Send suggestions for articles to highlight in Aliquots and any other feedback about the column to