Sentinel surveillance and epidemiology of Clostridioides difficile in Denmark, 2016 to 2019

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BackgroundSince 2008, Danish national surveillance of Clostridioides difficile has focused on binary toxin-positive strains in order to monitor epidemic types such as PCR ribotype (RT) 027 and 078. Additional surveillance is needed to provide a more unbiased representation of all strains from the clinical reservoir.AimSetting up a new sentinel surveillance scheme for an improved understanding of type distribution relative to time, geography and epidemiology, here presenting data from 2016 to 2019.MethodsFor 2─4 weeks in spring and autumn each year between 2016 and 2019, all 10 Danish Departments of Clinical Microbiology collected faecal samples containing toxigenic C. difficile. Isolates were typed at the national reference laboratory at Statens Serum Institut. The typing method in 2016-17 used tandem-repeat-sequence typing, while the typing method in 2018-19 was whole genome sequencing.ResultsDuring the study period, the sentinel surveillance scheme included ca 14-15% of all Danish cases of C. difficile infections. Binary toxin-negative strains accounted for 75% and 16 of the 20 most prevalent types. The most common sequence types (ST) were ST2/13 (RT014/020) (19.5%), ST1 (RT027) (10.8%), ST11 (RT078) (6.7%), ST8 (RT002) (6.6%) and ST6 (RT005/117) (5.1%). The data also highlighted geographical differences, mostly related to ST1 and temporal decline of ST1 (p = 0.0008) and the increase of ST103 (p = 0.002), ST17 (p = 0.004) and ST37 (p = 0.003), the latter three binary toxin-negative.ConclusionSentinel surveillance allowed nationwide monitoring of geographical differences and temporal changes in C. difficile infections in Denmark, including emerging types, regardless of binary toxin status.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2200244
JournalEuro surveillance : bulletin Europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Research areas

  • Humans, Clostridioides difficile/genetics, Clostridioides/genetics, Sentinel Surveillance, Clostridium Infections/epidemiology, Ribotyping/methods, Denmark/epidemiology

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