Is Clostridium difficile-associated infection a potentially zoonotic and foodborne disease?


Corresponding author and reprint requests: M. Rupnik, Institute of Public Health Maribor, Centre for Microbiology, Prvomajska 1, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia


Clostridium difficile has received much attention in recent years because of the increased incidence and severity of nosocomial disease caused by this organism, but C. difficile-associated disease has also been reported in the community, and C. difficile is an emerging pathogen in animals. Early typing comparisons did not identify animals as an important source for human infection, but recent reports have shown a marked overlap between isolates from calves and humans, including two of the predominant outbreak types, 027 and 017. C. difficile has also been found in retail meat samples, suggesting that food could be involved in the transmission of C. difficile from animals to humans.