Objective: To describe the epidemiology of C. difficile in hospital inpatients aged over 65 in
Methods: Records with a C. difficile toxin test result where the patient is over 65 and an inpatient in hospital in
13164 non-duplicate C. difficile positives were reported between 01/01/2005 and 30/09/2009, giving an overall rate of 15.8/1000 admissions (95% CI: 15.5, 16.1) in inpatients in the over 65 age-group. Rates have increased over almost 4 years of surveillance, although more recent data shows a decreasing trend. There is a distinct seasonal pattern, with peaks in the winter months. Rates are higher in females than in males (17.4/1000 (95% CI: 17.0, 17.8) vs 13.9/1000 (95% CI: 13.6, 14.3) admissions) and rates increase with increasing age within the over 65 population (66-75 rate: 8.9/1000 (95% CI: 8.6, 9.3); >95 rate: 28.8/1000 (95% CI: 25.7, 32.3)). A specialty was available for 90% (11877/13164) of records. The 5 specialties with the highest numbers of C. difficile reports were general medicine, geriatric medicine, general surgery, trauma and orthopaedics and renal medicine; they accounted for 83% (9867/11877) of all records. Of these specialties, the highest rate was in renal medicine (65.4/1000 admissions).
Conclusions: The surveillance system has allowed the epidemiology of C. difficile in