Recurring C. difficile infections cause havoc in hospitals in Scotland and England


The 27th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) will kick off with revelations about the devastating impact of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections in Scotland. Between October 2015 and October 2016, the National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland reported 1,150 cases of C. difficile infections—enough patients to continuously occupy a 30-bed hospital for a year—amounting to staggering costs of more than $11.1m (£8.7m).

While the actual number of cases is relatively low, GlobalData notes that the reoccurring nature of C. difficile infections amounts to the majority of the cost, with over half of discharged patients being readmitted to hospital within six months. For the first time, researchers will present their findings at ECCMID about the impact of recurrent C. difficile infections on health service resources and patient outcomes.

Professor Alistair Leanord and colleagues from the University of Glasgow compared 3,304 patients with C. difficile infections with 9,516 patients without infections in Scottish hospitals from 2010–2013. The researchers determined that C. difficile infections not only doubled the risk of death within the first two months, but caused death in nearly a third of all registered cases of C. difficile, while survivors of the initial infections frequently suffered from reoccurring infections within six months. Of the cured patients, nearly 14% suffered from recurrent C. difficile infections within three months, and nearly 30% were readmitted to hospital within a year.  

"Three potential pipeline drugs, namely Seres Thrapeutics’ SER-109, Rebiotix’s RBX-2660 and Summit Therapeutics’ redinilazole, are designed to treat recurring C. difficile infections."

Scotland is not the only country suffering from recurrent C. difficile infections. In a later session during the ECCMID, Dr David Enoch—a consultant microbiologist from the National Infection Service in the UK—will present about recurrent C. difficile infection in about a third of all cases across England between 2002 and 2013. The researchers of this study estimated that 15–30% of all C. difficile cases in Europe are due to recurrent infections.

GlobalData has identified three potential pipeline drugs, namely Seres Thrapeutics’ SER-109, Rebiotix’s RBX-2660, and Summit Therapeutics’ redinilazole, which are designed to treat recurring C. difficile infections. GlobalData anticipates that all of these pipeline drugs, but in particular Summit’s narrow-spectrum antibiotic have the potential to change the future treatment landscape for C. difficile infections.