Screening for Asymptomatic Clostridioides difficile Carriage Among Hospitalized Patients: A Narrative Review

Mayan Gilboa*, Nadav Baharav, Eyal Melzer, Gili Regev-Yochay, Dafna Yahav

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) has become the most common healthcare-associated infection in the United States, with considerable morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs. Assessing new preventive strategies is vital. We present a literature review of studies evaluating a strategy of screening and isolation of asymptomatic carriers in hospital settings. Asymptomatic detection of C. difficile is reported in ~ 10–20% of admitted patients. Risk factors for carriage include recent hospitalization, previous antibiotics, older age, lower functional capacity, immunosuppression, and others. Asymptomatic C. difficile carriers of toxigenic strains are at higher risk for progression to CDI. They are also shedders of C. difficile spores and may contribute to the persistence and transmission of this bacterium. Screening for asymptomatic carriers at hospital admission can theoretically reduce CDI by isolating carriers to reduce transmission, and implementing antibiotic stewardship measures targeting carriers to prevent progression to clinical illness. Several observational studies, summarized in this review, have reported implementing screening and isolation strategies, and found a reduction in CDI rates. Nevertheless, the data are still limited to a few observational studies, and this strategy is not commonly practiced. Studies supporting screening were performed in North America, coinciding with the period of dominance of the 027/BI/NAP1 strain. Additional studies evaluating screening, followed by infection control and antibiotic stewardship measures, are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2223-2240
Number of pages18
JournalInfectious Diseases and Therapy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Antibiotic stewardship
  • Clostridioides difficile
  • Contact isolation
  • Infection control
  • Screening


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