Wherein we ponder vexing issues in infection prevention and control, inside and outside the hospital.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Another reason to quit smoking: C. difficile Infection
A recent study in PLoS ONE from Mary Rogers and co-authors at the Ann Arbor VA and the University of Michigan looked at C. difficile infection (CDI) rates in a cohort of almost 17 thousand Americans over the age of 50. They used survey data from the Health and Retirement Study linked to CMS data and identified CDI using ICD-9 codes (which are valid in CDI, unlike MRSA). They found that current smokers had 80% higher rates of CDI and former smokers had 33% higher rates compared to never smokers. Possible reasons given for the association include Clostridium species on the cigarettes themselves, high rates of antibiotics among elderly smokers and altered gut microbiota in smokers. Each of these would be another good reason to quit smoking.