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Table 1 A description of different case definitions for asymptomatic colonization and carriage with C. difficile

From: Asymptomatic Clostridium difficile colonization: epidemiology and clinical implications

Term used Case definition Study reference
Colonization Patients with symptomless colonization were defined as symptom-free, excluding patients recovering from C. difficile associated diarrhea. Shim, 1998 [8]
Asymptomatic C. difficile colonization was defined as a positive stool culture for C. difficile in the absence of diarrhea. Loo, 2011 [13]
A case of toxigenic C. difficile colonization was defined as an asymptomatic individual with tcdB gene detected in a fecal sample by real-time PCR Hung, 2012 [109]
Was not specifically defined and did not distinguish between colonization and infection. One colonized case was symptomatic at sampling time (personal communication). Arvand, 2012 [30]
Carriage Asymptomatic carriage was defined as a positive stool culture or cytotoxin test and the absence of diarrhea during hospitalization and during a 30-day period after discharge. Kyne, 2000 [18]
Asymptomatic carriage was considered when C. difficile or its cytotoxin was detected in stool from persons without gastrointestinal symptoms. Simor, 1993 [67]
Carriers were defined as positive for a toxigenic C. difficile screening test during the study period in the absence of a clinician ordered toxin screen determined by electronic medical record review. Carriers were categorized as persistent, transient, or indeterminate. Curry, 2013 [75]