Exposure to specific antibiotics is linked to the development of certain strains of antibiotic-resistant C. difficile, one of the fastest growing bacteria superbugs, according to a new study published by Stuart Johnson, MD, of Loyola University Health System (LUHS), Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM) and the Hines VA Medical Hospital.
C. diff has been associated with multiple healthcare facility outbreaks and high national rates of C. difficile infection (CDI) since 2001 and now rivals Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in both frequency and severity.
Several infectious diseases, including MRSA and C. diff, have become resistant to antibiotics. As a result, the medical community has deliberately reduced the routine practice of prescribing antibiotics for infectious diseases. There currently is not a highly effective prevention method for C. diff.
Dr. Johnson and a team that included his longtime research partner, foremost C. diff expert Dale Gerding, MD, LUHS, SSOM, identified 143 patients with first episode CDI between 2005 and 2007 in one U.S. hospital at a time when increased CDI rates and severity were noted nation-wide. Of those 103 patients, or 72 percent, were infected with the BI/NAP1/027 C. diff strain, which is highly resistant to fluoroquinolones and macrolides.
Most patients received multiple antibiotics within six weeks of being diagnosed with CDI. Fluoroquinolone and macrolide exposure was more frequent in patients with B1 strains, and the C. difficile bacteria recovered from the stool specimens of these BI-infected patients also showed high-level resistance to these antibiotics.