Value of lysozyme agar incorporation and alkaline thioglycollate exposure for the environmental recovery of clostridium difficile

M. H. Wilcox*, W. N. Fawley, P. Parnell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Clostridium difficile is an increasingly prevalent nosocomial pathogen. Environmental contamination by spores is believed to be a major factor propagating the spread of C. difficile. Various approaches including the use of bile salts have been described to enhance the recovery of C. difficile from clinical and environmental specimens. We found that lysozyme (5 mg/L) incorporated into a selective medium containing bile salts significantly increased the recovery of C. difficile from swabs of 197 environmental sites (11% versus 24% samples positive, P<0·01). Furthermore, in a separate series of experiments additional use of cooked meat broth enrichment significantly enhanced the recovery of C. difficile (35% versus 45%, P = 0.009). Conversely, we found that pre-exposure to alkaline thioglycollate did not improve the yield of C. difficile. Lysozyme incorporation markedly increases the recovery of C. difficile from environmental samples probably by stimulation of spore germination. Our findings suggest that previous attempts to determine the level of environmental C. difficile contamination have markedly underestimated the true prevalence of this pathogen. (C) 2000 The Hospital Infection Society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-69
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Clostridium difficile
  • Environment
  • Spores

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