Parameters for the mathematical modelling of Clostridium difficile acquisition and transmission: a systematic review

Otete, Harmony orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2467-2605, Ahankari, Anand S, Jones, Helen, Bolton, Kirsty, Jordan, Caroline, Boswell, Tim, Wilcox, Mark, Ferguson, Neil, Beck, Charles et al (2013) Parameters for the mathematical modelling of Clostridium difficile acquisition and transmission: a systematic review. Plos One, 8 (12).

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INTRODUCTION: Mathematical modelling of Clostridium difficile infection dynamics could contribute to the optimisation of strategies for its prevention and control. The objective of this systematic review was to summarise the available literature specifically identifying the quantitative parameters required for a compartmental mathematical model of Clostridium difficile transmission. METHODS: Six electronic healthcare databases were searched and all screening, data extraction and study quality assessments were undertaken in duplicate. Results were synthesised using a narrative approach. RESULTS: Fifty-four studies met the inclusion criteria. Reproduction numbers for hospital based epidemics were described in two studies with a range from 0.55 to 7. Two studies provided consistent data on incubation periods. For 62% of cases, symptoms occurred in less than 4 weeks (3-28 days) after infection. Evidence on contact patterns was identified in four studies but with limited data reported for populating a mathematical model. Two studies, including one without clinically apparent donor-recipient pairs, provided information on serial intervals for household or ward contacts, showing transmission intervals of <1 week in ward based contacts compared to up to 2 months for household contacts. Eight studies reported recovery rates of between 75%-100% for patients who had been treated with either metronidazole or vancomycin. Forty-nine studies gave recurrence rates of between 3% and 49% but were limited by varying definitions of recurrence. No study was found which specifically reported force of infection or net reproduction numbers. CONCLUSIONS: There is currently scant literature overtly citing estimates of the parameters required to inform the quantitative modelling of Clostridium difficile transmission. Further high quality studies to investigate transmission parameters are required, including through review of published epidemiological studies where these quantitative estimates may not have been explicitly estimated, but that nonetheless contain the relevant data to allow their calculation.

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