Faecal specimens from 843 cases of diarrhoea in the community were tested for the presence of Clostridium difficile cytotoxin and Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin. C. difficile cytotoxin was detected in faecal specimens from 0.6% of cases aged at least 2 years by using a Vero cell assay. Factors associated with detection of C. difficile cytotoxin were antibiotic therapy, age over 60 years and living in a home with other elderly people. Three methods were used for the detection of C. perfringens enterotoxin: a Vero cell assay, a commercial (TechLab) enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and an in-house EIA. The lower level of detection of pure C. perfringens enterotoxin in buffer was 0.01 μg ml-1 by the TechLab EIA and 1.0 μg ml-1 by the Vero cell assay. C. perfringens enterotoxin was detected by using the TechLab EIA in faecal specimens from 2.5% of cases. This commercial EIA was less sensitive than the in-house EIA, detecting only 31% of positive cases, but was specific and could be used for outbreak investigation by routine diagnostic laboratories. Age over 60 years was a factor associated with C. perfringens enterotoxin detection; this age group may be targeted for testing.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Journal of Medical Microbiology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sept 2003|