Honors College


Abigail Howe

Document Type

Honors Thesis




Deborah Saber

Committee Members

Edward Bernard, Melissa Ladenheim, Kathryn Robinson, Mary Tedesco-Schneck

Graduation Year

August 2020

Publication Date

Summer 8-2020


Clostridioides difficile infections (CDI) are bacterial infections severely affecting an individual’s health and financially affecting health care settings. These infections are a persistent health care issue despite implementation of preventative measures. Research on the risk of acquiring CDI for individuals with comorbidities is scarce. Diabetes mellitus (DM) may negatively impact an individual’s immune system and consequently increase the risk of CDI. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if the incidence of DM differed between patients who had CDI and patients who did not have CDI. After receiving an Internal Review Board (IRB) exempt status, electronic medical records were reviewed from patients who were discharged from one healthcare facility in Maine to analyze the potential link between CDI and DM using a case-control study design. Cases (n=40) were included if they were diagnosed with positive CDI and had admission dates between 12/2016-12/2018. Controls (n=40) did not have a diagnosis for CDI and had admission dates between 12/2016-12/2018. Exclusion criteria for cases and controls included oncological patients and patients under 18 years of age. The data was analyzed using a Pearson chi square test. The p value was set at <.05. The p value calculated from the data was 0.485. The findings were not statistically significant. In terms of this study, there is no relationship between CDI and DM. Limitations included the lack of diversity in data collection and the fact that only one health care facility was utilized. In addition, potentially important factors like demographics and other underlying comorbidities were not considered in this analysis. Further exploration is needed on understanding the relationship between comorbidities and CDI, which has the potential to impact prevention methods thus leading healthcare facilities to possibly see a decrease in CDI rates and healthcare costs, and an increase in patient safety.