Hospital carpeting and epidemiology of Clostridium difficile

Athanasios T. Skoutelis, Grant O. Westenfelder, Marcia Beckerdite, John Phillip Phair*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background:Clostridium difficile is the usual and most important cause of antibiotic-associated pseudomembranous enterocolitis. The source of nosocomial acquisition of the organism in nonepidemic settings has not been determined. Methods: Epidemiologic and microbiologic studies were conducted in a community-teaching hospital complex to assess the impact of carpeting in patient rooms on environmental contamination with C. difficile, along with the prevalence of pseudomembranous enterocolitis. All C. difficile isolates were typed by means of a bacteriophage-bacteriocin typing scheme. Results: No clear evidence of environmental acquisition of C. difficile in a nonepidemic setting of pseudomembranous enterocolitis was found. Carpeted floors were significantly more heavily contaminated for prolonged periods with clinical strains of C. difficile than were noncarpeted floors. Conclusion: There was no evidence that contamination of carpeting resulted in increased frequency of pseudomembranous enterocolitis in patients residing in carpeted rooms. Because there is strong evidence of exogenous acquisition of C. difficile during outbreaks, however, room carpeting should be considered a potential reservoir of this organism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-217
Number of pages6
JournalAJIC: American Journal of Infection Control
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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