Use of culture- and ELISA-based toxin assay for detecting Clostridium Difficile, a neglected pathogen: A single-center study from a tertiary care setting
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AbstractIntroduction: Clostridium difficile is a Gram-positive spore-bearing anaerobic bacillus increasingly associated with both community- and hospital-acquired colitis and diarrhea. It is the most common identifiable bacterial cause of healthcare-associated diarrhea associated with antibiotic use and one of the most common anaerobic infections. The diagnosis of C. difficile infection includes detection of toxin A/B in stool specimens by direct enzyme immunoassay, culture of pathogen from the stool specimens using a selective agar Cycloserine-Cefoxitin fructose agar (CCFA), tissue culture assay, and detection of glutamate dehydrogenase an enzyme produced by C. difficile. With few reports from India on this disease, the present study was planned to throw more light on the prevalence and utility of laboratory diagnostic methods for C. difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD). Material and Methods: After taking approval from the Ethics Committee, 150 patients with antibiotic-associated diarrhea were taken as a study group and fifty patients with exposure to antibiotics but who did not develop diarrhea were taken as controls. Stool specimen was processed for both culture on CCFA and toxin detection by IVD Tox A + B ELISA. Results: Only four specimens were culture positive, whereas 13 were ELISA positive. All culture-positive isolates were toxigenic. C. difficile was neither isolated nor its toxin detected in the control group. Culture- and toxin-based assays may not detect all cases of CDAD. Conclusion: Based on the results of the present study, culture does not provide any additional yield over toxin assay. Better diagnostic modalities would be required to prove CDAD.