Incidence

C. difficile colitis occurs more frequency in patients who are hospitalized; the rate is reported at one to 10 cases per 1000 discharges. Outside the hospital, the overall risk is less than one case per 10,000 antibiotic prescriptions written or 0.5 to 1 hospital admissions per 100,000 person-years (3,4).

PMC is rare in the pediatric age group (32). Mortality is rare and involves patients with serious coexistent illness, infection, or congenital defects. Antibiotics were previously given to most patients with PMC and usually were administered parenterally (5).

C. difficile cytotoxin was recovered from the stool of 18 of 208 (9%) children whose specimens were sent for routine microbiologic studies (33). Cytotoxin was identified more often in younger patients, those with an associated illness and those with antibiotic-associated condition. Strong evidence exists for nosocomial acquisition of disease, but the frequency of this event and the usefulness of preventive measures in children need to be determined.

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