Clostridium difficile infection differential diagnosis

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Yazan Daaboul, M.D.

Overview

Clostridium difficile infection must be differentiated from other diseases that cause acute inflammatory diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and ileus, including other causes of colitis (ischemic, collagenous, ulcerative), malabsorptive syndromes, diverticulitis, appendicitis, malignancies, drug-induced causes, and infections, such as salmonellosis, shigellosis, or gastrointestinal infections with Escherichia coli or Campylobacter jejuni.

Differential Diagnosis of Clostridium difficile Infection

Clostridium difficile infection must be differentiated from other diseases that cause acute inflammatory diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and ileus:

Ischemic colitis
Ulcerative colitis
Collagenous colitis
Eosinophilic colitis
Lymphocytic colitis
Indeterminate colitis
Bacterial infections
Viral infections, including HIV
Parasitis infections, such as amebiasis or giardiasis
Fungal infections


The table below lists common infectious pathogens that are known to cause acute inflammatory diarrhea:[1][2]

Pathogen Transmission Clinical Manifestations
Fever Nausea/Vomiting Abdominal Pain Bloody Stool
Salmonella Foodborne transmission, community-acquired ++ + ++ +
Shigella Community-acquired, person-to-person ++ ++ ++ +
Campylobacter Community-acquired, ingestion of undercooked poultry ++ + ++ +
E. coli (EHEC or EIEC) Foodborne transmission, ingestion of undercooked hamburger meat ± + ++ ++
Yersinia Community-aquired, foodborne transmission ++ + ++ +
Entamoeba histolytica Travel to or emigration from tropical regions + ± + ±
Aeromonas Ingestion of contaminated water ++ + ++ +
Plesiomonas Ingestion of contaminated water or undercooked shellfish, travel to tropical regions ± ++ + +

References

  1. Thielman NM, Guerrant RL (2004). "Clinical practice. Acute infectious diarrhea". N Engl J Med. 350 (1): 38–47. doi:10.1056/NEJMcp031534. PMID 14702426.
  2. Khan AM, Faruque AS, Hossain MS, Sattar S, Fuchs GJ, Salam MA (2004). "Plesiomonas shigelloides-associated diarrhoea in Bangladeshi children: a hospital-based surveillance study". J Trop Pediatr. 50 (6): 354–6. doi:10.1093/tropej/50.6.354. PMID 15537721.



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