Emerging Microbes and Infections
Taylor and Francis
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Funding information available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/22221751.2019.1621670
Clostridium difficile ribotype (RT) 017 is an important toxigenic C. difficile RT which, due to a deletion in the repetitive region of the tcdA gene, only produces functional toxin B. Strains belonging to this RT were initially dismissed as nonpathogenic and circulated largely undetected for almost two decades until they rose to prominence following a series of outbreaks in the early 2000s. Despite lacking a functional toxin A, C. difficile RT 017 strains have been shown subsequently to be capable of causing disease as severe as that caused by strains producing both toxins A and B. While C. difficile RT 017 strains can be found in almost every continent today, epidemiological studies suggest that the RT is endemic in Asia and that the global spread of this MLST clade 4 lineage member is a relatively recent event. C. difficile RT 017 transmission appears to be mostly from human to human with only a handful of reports of isolations from animals. An important feature of C. difficile RT 017 strains is their resistance to several antimicrobials and this has been documented as a possible factor driving multiple outbreaks in different parts of the world. This review summarizes what is currently known regarding the emergence and evolution of strains belonging to C. difficile RT 017 as well as features that have allowed it to become an RT of global importance.
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