Toxigenic Clostridium difficile is the aetiologic agent of most cases of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and pseudomembranous colitis. The present standard method for C. difficile diagnosis is a cytotoxicity assay, performed on human fibroblast cultures. It is time consuming and requires special facilities. A nested-PCR assay detecting toxin B gene within a few hours was designed. One hundred and two stool samples were collected during four months. All samples were processed for toxin B-PCR, cultured for C. difficile and tested for cytotoxicity. This approach achieved 99% concordance with the cytotoxic assay. The sensitivity and specificity for the new PCR assay were 96.3% and 100% respectively. The procedure described is easy to perform, does not require special equipment and has produced excellent results. It deserves serious consideration for routine clinical microbiology laboratory use.
- Clostridium difficile
- Toxin B