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Etiology of Community Acquired Clostridium
Difficile-Associated Disease

By: Shannan Sherman and Dr. Pamela Ark | Mentor: Dr. Pamela Ark

Purpose, Method & Background


The purpose of this research project is to provide a comprehensive review of research findings about community-acquired CDAD. Findings from this study may show how clostridium difficile is spread from healthcare workers to the community, and suggest nursing interventions to reduce or prevent this transmission. Therefore, the results of this study can be applied to everyday practice to enhance patient outcomes.


A  review of the research literature related to CA-CDAD was conducted. Information was collected from the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL) and MEDLINE-EBSCOhost databases. Clinical practice recommendations from the CDC website were also used. Inclusion criteria for results included peer-reviewed articles written in the English language and both national and international studies. Key terms are clostridium difficile , C. difficile and c-diff.


Disease transmission can be explained by the chain of transmission. Disease occurs when an outside agent capable of causing disease meets a host that is vulnerable to the agent in an environment that allows the agent and the host to interact (CDC, 2004). The agent is the entity necessary to cause disease, typically a bacterium. The host is the person who is susceptible to the effect of the agent. The environment is the conditions that influence the interaction of the agent and the host, which includes climatologic, biologic, social, and economic conditions. Agent, host, and environment come together to form the epidemiologic triangle of disease transmission (CDC, 2004).

Epidemiologic Triangle >>