A nationwide study of molecular epidemiology and antimicrobial susceptibility of Clostridioides difficile in South Korea

Jung Hyun Byun, Heejung Kim, Jung Lim Kim, Dokyun Kim, Seok Hoon Jeong, Jeong Hwan Shin, Young Ah Kim, Jong Hee Shin, Kyeong Seob Shin, Young Uh

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The molecular epidemiology and antimicrobial resistance of Clostridioides difficile were studied in South Korea in 2017 as part of a National Surveillance System. From February to May 2017, all non-duplicate isolates of C. difficile were recovered from patients who were suspected to have C. difficile infection and collected from 6 referral hospitals representing the 6 regions in South Korea. We performed PCRs for the toxin gene, PCR ribotyping, multilocus sequence typing (MLST), antimicrobial susceptibility testing by agar dilution according to the recommendations of the CLSI and detection of antimicrobial resistance genes such as ermB, catD, tetM, vanZ and nimR by PCR. Of 331 C. difficile isolates, 257 (77.6%) were toxigenic and the prevalence of strains producing binary toxin (CDT) was 5.1% (13/257). A total of 52 different ribotype (RT) patterns were found. RT018 was the most common (25.1% of all isolates), and RT014/020, RT002 and RT012 were also common. RT010 was most common non-toxigenic strain. MLST analysis of randomly selected 72 C. difficile isolates identified 46 sequence types (STs), of which three were new and not in the PubMLST library. There was a good correlation between MLST and RT as following: ST1 (RT027), ST8 (RT002), ST11 (RT078), ST17 (RT018), ST35 (RT046), ST37 (RT017), ST42 (RT106), ST53 (RT103), ST81 (RT369), and ST99 (RT070). All toxigenic isolates were susceptible to metronidazole and vancomycin (MIC ≤ 2 mg/L). For rifaximin, 24% of toxigenic isolates were resistant. Of randomly selected 106 toxigenic isolates, resistance rates for ampicillin, cefotetan, clindamycin, imipenem, chloramphenicol, tetracycline, and moxifloxacin were 48%, 46%, 64%, 54%, 0%, 6% and 52% respectively and frequencies of various resistance genes were 62.3% for ermB, 0.9% catD and 10.4% tetM. RTs018, 002, 017 and 369 showed high MICs to various antimicrobial agents and multi-drug resistance was common also.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102106
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Research Programme funded by the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( 2017E4400300# ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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