To examine physical proximity as a risk factor for the nosocomial acquisition of Clostridium difficile - associated diarrhea (CDAD) and of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD), we assessed a retrospective cohort of 2859 patients admitted to a community hospital from 1 March 1987 through 31 August 1987. Of these patients, 68 had nosocomial CDAD and 54 had nosocomial AAD. In multivariate analysis, physical proximity to a patient with CDAD (relative risk [RR], 1.86; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-3.28), exposure to clindamycin (RR, 4.22; 95% CI, 2.11-8.45), and the number of antibiotics taken (RR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.23-1.81) were significant. For patients with nosocomial AAD, exposure to a roommate with AAD (RR, 3.94; 95% CI, 1.27-12.24), a stay in an intensive care unit or cardiac care unit (RR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.05-3.53), and the number of antibiotics taken (RR, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.67-2.40) were significant risk factors. Physical proximity may be an independent risk factor for acquisition of nosocomial CDAD and AAD.
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