Aerial dissemination of Clostridium difficile on a pig farm and its environment
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Clostridium difficile is increasingly recognized as an important enteropathogen in both humans and animals. The finding of C. difficile in air samples in hospitals suggests a role for aerial dissemination in the transmission of human C. difficile infection. The present study was designed to investigate the occurrence of airborne C. difficile in, and nearby a pig farm with a high prevalence of C. difficile. Airborne colony counts in the farrowing pens peaked on the moments shortly after or during personnel activity in the pens (P = 0.043 (farrowing pen 1,2), P = 0.034 (farrowing pen 2)). A decrease in airborne C. difficile colony counts was observed parallel to aging of the piglets. Airborne C. difficile was detected up to 20 m distant from the farm. This study showed the widespread character of aerial dissemination of C. difficile on a pig farm and the association between personnel activity in farrowing pens and an increase of C. difficile in the air.