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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 510386, 8 pages
Research Article

The Epidemiology and Economic Burden of Clostridium difficile Infection in Korea

1Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea
2Department of Medical Education and Medical Humanities, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea
3Cancer Policy Branch, National Cancer Control Institute, National Cancer Center, Goyang 410-769, Republic of Korea
4Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul 136-701, Republic of Korea

Received 18 September 2014; Accepted 26 January 2015

Academic Editor: Hon W. Koon

Copyright © 2015 Hyung-Yun Choi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The prevalence of Clostridium difficile infection and the associated burden have recently increased in many countries. While the main risk factors for C. difficile infection include old age and antibiotic use, the prevalence of this infection is increasing in low-risk groups. These trends highlight the need for research on C. difficile infection. This study pointed out the prevalence and economic burden of C. difficile infection and uses the representative national data which is primarily from the database of the Korean Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, for 2008–2011. The annual economic cost was measured using a prevalence approach, which sums the costs incurred to treat C. difficile infection. C. difficile infection prevalence was estimated to have increased from 1.43 per 100,000 in 2008 to 5.06 per 100,000 in 2011. Moreover, mortality increased from 69 cases in 2008 to 172 in 2011. The economic cost increased concurrently, from $2.4 million in 2008 to $7.6 million, $10.5 million, and $15.8 million in 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively. The increasing economic burden of C. difficile infection over the course of the study period emphasizes the need for intervention to minimize the burden of a preventable illness like C. difficile infection.