Global spread and evolutionary links of an epidemic Clostridium difficile strain (PCR-ribotype 027) have been noted in recent decades. However, in Japan, no outbreaks caused by type 027 have been reported to date. A total of 120 C. difficile isolates from patients at 15 hospitals during non-outbreak seasons between 2011 and 2013 as well as 18 and 21 isolates collected from two hospitals in 2010 and 2009, respectively, in outbreak periods in Japan, were examined. Among these 120 isolates, Japan-ribotypes smz and ysmz (subtype variant of smz) were the most predominant (39.2%) followed by Japan-ribotype trf (15.8%). Types smz/ysmz and trf were also concurrently predominant at two hospitals in the outbreak settings. Out of the five binary toxin-positive isolates observed, only one was PCR-ribotype 027 and another PCRribotype 078. Type smz was later found to correspond to PCR-ribotype 018. High rates of resistance against atifloxacin, moxifloxacin, erythromycin and clindamycin were observed in the PCR-ribotype 018 isolates. Interestingly, all trf isolates were toxin A-negative, toxin B-positive, but they did not correspond to PCR-ribotype 017, thus being assigned a new ribotype (PCRribotype 369). In conclusion, PCR-ribotypes 018 (smz) and 369 (trf) were identified as major circulating strains in both outbreak and non-outbreak settings in Japan. Given their epidemiological relevance, molecular investigations are warranted to clarify potential evolutionary links with related strains found elsewhere, such as PCR-ribotypes 018 and 017 from Europe and North America.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)