Q: About what percentage of patients with C. difficile infection have a recurence even if they are not exposed to more antibiotic therapy?
About 20% of patients with C. difficile infection have a recurence of the infection even if they are not exposed to more antibiotic therapy - and even they finish a course of appropriate treatment. The time interval between the first infection and a recurence is usually in the first 4 weeks after treatment is ended. Recurrent disease is caused by germination of residual C. difficile spores that are not killed and remain in colon after treatment. About 16% of hospitalized patients harbor this bacteria within their colon as inactive spores.
Clinical significance: Very high vigilance is required for C.diff. colitis in view of its deadly nature.