Reducing C. difficile in children: An agent-based modeling approach to evaluate intervention effectiveness

Anna K. Barker*, Elizabeth Scaria, Oguzhan Alagoz, Ajay K. Sethi, Nasia Safdar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is rapidly increasing in children's hospitals nationwide. Thus, we aimed to compare the effectiveness of 9 infection prevention interventions and 6 multiple-intervention bundles at reducing hospital-onset CDI and asymptomatic C. difficile colonization.Design: Agent-based simulation model of C. difficile transmission.Setting: Computer-simulated, 80-bed freestanding, tertiary-care pediatric hospital, including 8 identical wards with 10 single-bed patient rooms each.Participants: The model includes 5 distinct agent types: patients, visitors, caregivers, nurses, and physicians.Interventions: Daily and terminal environmental disinfection, screening at admission, reduced intrahospital patient transfers, healthcare worker (HCW), visitor, and patient hand hygiene, and HCW and visitor contact precautions.Results: The model predicted that daily environmental disinfection with sporicidal product, combined with screening for asymptomatic C. difficile at admission, was the most effective 2-pronged infection prevention bundle, reducing hospital-onset CDI by 62.0% and asymptomatic colonization by 88.4%. Single-intervention strategies, including daily disinfection, terminal disinfection, asymptomatic screening at admission, HCW hand hygiene, and patient hand hygiene, as well as decreasing intrahospital patient transfers, all also reduced both hospital-onset CDI and asymptomatic colonization in the model. Visitor hand hygiene and visitor and HCW contact precautions were not effective at reducing either measure.Conclusions: Hospitals can achieve substantial reduction in hospital-onset CDIs by implementing a small number of highly effective interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-530
Number of pages9
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Epidemiology


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