Seasonal variations in Clostridium difficile infections are associated with influenza and respiratory syncytial virus activity independently of antibiotic prescriptions: a time series analysis in Quebec, Canada.Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Feb; 56(2):639-46.AA
Seasonal variations in Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD), with a higher incidence occurring during winter months, have been reported. Although winter epidemics of respiratory viruses may be temporally associated with an increase in CDAD morbidity, we hypothesized that this association is mainly due to increased antibiotic use for respiratory infections. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of the two most frequent respiratory viruses (influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus [RSV]) and antibiotics prescribed for respiratory infections (fluoroquinolones and macrolides) on the CDAD incidence in hospitals in the province of Québec, Canada. A multivariable Box-Jenkins transfer function model was built to relate monthly CDAD incidence to the monthly percentage of positive tests for influenza virus and RSV and monthly fluoroquinolone and macrolide prescriptions over a 4-year period (January 2005 to December 2008). Analysis showed that temporal variations in CDAD incidence followed temporal variations for influenza virus (P = 0.043), RSV (P = 0.004), and macrolide prescription (P = 0.05) time series with an average delay of 1 month and fluoroquinolone prescription time series with an average delay of 2 months (P = 0.01). We conclude that influenza virus and RSV circulation is independently associated with CDAD incidence after controlling for fluoroquinolone and macrolide use. This association was observed at an aggregated level and may be indicative of other phenomena occurring during wintertime.