Clostridium difficile isolates with increased sporulation: Emergence of PCR ribotype 002 in Hong Kong

V. C C Cheng, W. C. Yam, O. T C Lam, J. L Y Tsang, E. Y F Tse, Kit Hang Siu, J. F W Chan, H. Tse, K. K W To, J. W M Tai, P. L. Ho, K. Y. Yuen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


We identified a predominant clone of Clostridium difficile PCR ribotype 002, which was associated with an increased sporulation frequency. In 2009, 3,528 stool samples from 2,440 patients were tested for toxigenic C. difficile in a healthcare region in Hong Kong. A total of 345 toxigenic strains from 307 (13.3%) patients were found. Ribotype 002 was the predominant ribotype, which constituted 35 samples from 29 (9.4%) patients. The mean sporulation frequency of ribotype 002 was 20.2%, which was significantly higher than that of the 56 randomly selected ribotypes other than 002 as concurrent controls (3.7%, p<0.001). Patients carrying toxigenic ribotype 002 were more frequently admitted from an elderly home (p=0.01) and received more β-lactam antibiotics in the preceding 3 months compared with the controls (p=0.04) . The identification of toxigenic ribotype 002 in 2009 was temporally related to a significant increase in both the incidence of toxigenic C. difficile from 0.53 to 0.95 per 1,000 admissions (p<0.001) and the rate of positive detection from 4.17% to 6.28% (p<0.001) between period 1 (2004-2008) and period 2 (2009). This finding should alert both the physician and the infection control team to the establishment of and possible outbreaks by ribotype 002 in our hospitals, as in the case of ribotype 027.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1371-1381
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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