Impact of Reduced Fluoroquinolone Use on Clostridioides difficile Infections Resulting From the Fluoroquinolone-Resistant Ribotype 027 Strain in a Veterans Affairs Medical Center

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Sarah N. Redmond
Sandra Y. Silva
Brigid M. Wilson
Jennifer L. Cadnum
Curtis J. Donskey


Background: Fluoroquinolone restriction has been proposed as a control measure for Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) outbreaks associated with fluoroquinolone-resistant ribotype 027 strains. However, relatively few reports of fluoroquinolone restriction interventions have evaluated the impact on C. difficile strain types and fluoroquinolone resistance.

Methods: In a hospital and affiliated long-term care facility (LTCF), antimicrobial stewardship and environmental cleaning interventions were implemented between 2009 and 2018, and C. difficile isolates during this period (~20 per year) were ribotyped and tested for fluoroquinolone resistance by moxifloxacin minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs). Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used to assess the association between use of fluoroquinolones and the percentage of CDI cases due to the 027 strain over time.

Results: Between 2009 and 2018, prescribing of fluoroquinolones to inpatients decreased by 43%, coinciding with significant reductions in the healthcare-associated CDI rates in the hospital and LTCF and a decline in the percentage of C. difficile isolates that were ribotype 027 from 70% to 10%. Ninety-five percent of ribotype 027 and 6% of non-027 isolates were moxifloxacin resistant. Hospital fluoroquinolone use was strongly correlated with the incidence of hospital-associated CDI (r = 0.79, 95% confidence interval, 0.31-0.95), but LTCF fluoroquinolone use was not correlated with LTCF-associated CDI (r = 0.29, 95% confidence interval, -0.43-0.77). During the study period, there were statistically significant downward trends in the use of penicillins, intravenous vancomycin, carbapenems, and clindamycin.

Conclusion: Our results provide support for fluoroquinolone restriction as a control measure for CDI outbreaks due to fluoroquinolone-resistant 027 strains, but also highlight the need for randomized trials as factors such as reduction in other antibiotic classes and improved cleaning may also impact CDI rates.


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