Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) in the US greatly outnumber CDIs in Japan and the five major European markets (5EU) of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK.

This disparity is expected to grow, as GlobalData epidemiologists predict the number of CDI cases in the US to increase by more than 25% over the next ten years. According to GlobalData’s newly published CDI EpiCast Report, the number of cases in the US is expected to grow from 538,497 in 2016 to 677,159 in 2026. Meanwhile, the number of cases in Japan and the 5EU are predicted to remain stable. Figure 1 displays the number of CDI cases in the US, 5EU, and Japan from 2016 to 2026.

CDI is primarily transmitted through the fecal-oral route. The usual symptoms of CDI include watery diarrhea, anorexia, and nausea, while severe cases can lead to hypoalbuminemia, ileus, or toxic megacolon. Risk factors for CDI include prior treatment with antibiotics, recent hospitalisation, and increasing age. While CDI has been considered a predominantly hospital-acquired infection, recent trends suggest an increase in community acquired cases.

There are two reasons for the predicted increase in CDI cases in the US. The growing and ageing US population will result in more people being at risk of CDI, especially among older age groups that have higher incidence rates than younger age groups. In addition, GlobalData epidemiologists expect incidence rates of CDI to grow in the US, as surveillance data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infections Program suggests a significant increase in CDI incidence in recent years. GlobalData epidemiologists expect the historical trend will continue into the future.

The growing burden of CDI in the US warrants careful consideration by healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies. Proper infection control measures in hospitals and antimicrobial stewardship, both in inpatient and outpatient settings, can help limit the transmission of CDI.

Details about the trend analysis and other discussions of CDI epidemiology can be found in GlobalData’s EpiCast Report: Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI) – Epidemiology Forecast to 2026 and EpiCast Model: Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI) – Epidemiology Forecast to 2026.