Clostridioides difficile

Clostridioides difficile was formerly known as Clostridium difficile and is often called C. difficile or C. diff for short. C. difficile are bacteria/bugs that are normally found in the large intestine (bowel) and C. difficile is the primary cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and C. difficile infection (CDI). 

A small proportion (less than 1 in 20) of the healthy adult population carry a small amount of Clostridioides difficile and don't experience any problem with it. It is kept in check by the normal "good" bacteria of the intestine. However, when you take an antibiotic, some of the "good" bacteria die causing the Clostridioides difficile bacteria to multiply and you may get an infection in your large intestine.

Figure 1. Number of CDI notifications by month and case type in Ireland, 2008-2018

CDI 2018 graph

Figure 2. Quarterly national rate of healthcare-associated CDI in Ireland, 2009-2018

CDI 2018 quarterly graph

*Data missing from one tertiary hospital in Q4 2018

C. difficile
in Ireland, 2018

2053 C. difficile infection CIDR events notified, 2018
38.6 Crude Incidence Rate*/100,000 population
2030 C. difficile infection enhanced cases reported, 2018
2.4 Rate hospital-acquired** cases/10,000 BDU

*New and recurrent events
**New and recurrent cases associated with reporting hospitals


Last updated: 30 October 2019