A European survey of diagnostic methods and testing protocols for Clostridium difficile
ABSTRACT Objective To conduct a survey of the methods used in clinical microbiology laboratories in Europe to diagnose infection with Clostridium difficile.Methods A questionnaire was devised and sent to a co-ordinating member of the Study Group in each of eight European countries. This co-ordinator was in charge of forwarding the questionnaire to hospital laboratories arbitrarily selected. The number of laboratories in each country was determined on the basis of one laboratory for 10 000 beds of hospitalization. This questionnaire covered different aspects pertaining to Clostridium difficile associated to diarrhea (CDAD) diagnosis such as circumstances of request, criteria used for undertaking C. difficile investigations, methods used for the diagnosis, etc.Results A total of 212 questionnaires were completed and submitted for analysis: 87.7% of laboratories reported routinely performing C. difficile diagnostic tests. Methods used included toxin detection (93%), culture (55%), and glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) detection (5.9%). Among the laboratories detecting toxins, different enzyme immunoassays (EIA) and cytotoxicity assays were used in 79% and 17.3% of cases, respectively. Among the different strategies reported, 4.8% were considered suboptimal for the diagnosis of C. difficile infections, but marked discrepancies could be observed between countries. The overall incidence (median) of CDAD was estimated at 1.1 for 1000 patient admissions.Conclusion The results of this study suggest marked discrepancies between laboratories and also between countries regarding the criteria by which C. difficile is investigated for, and the methods and the strategies that are used for the diagnosis of C. difficile. These discrepancies could be explained by the lack of clear guidelines for C. difficile diagnosis in each country, and by the importance that physicians attach to C. difficile. Precise guidelines for C. difficile diagnosis would be the first step to make possible accurate comparison of the incidence and the epidemiology of CDAD from one hospital to another or from one country to another.
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ABSTRACT: Detection of Clostridium difficile toxins A and B in stools by Premier Cytoclone A+B enzyme immunoassay (EIA) was compared with detection by stool culture for C. difficile followed by detection of toxigenic isolates using the same EIA. Chart reviews were performed to evaluate the likelihood of C. difficile-associated diarrhea and colitis (CADC) for all patients with at least one positive toxin assay. While the toxins were detected in 58 of 85 consecutive CADC patients by both assays, CADC in 5 patients was detected only by stool toxin assay, and in 22 patients CADC was detected only by toxigenic culture. Our results suggest that for laboratories using a rapid toxin A+B EIA, direct toxin detection in stools should be combined with toxigenic culture in cases in which there is a negative stool toxin assay.Journal of Clinical Microbiology 06/2001; 39(5):1996-8. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In a prospective study conducted over a six-month period, the relative yield of 721 routine cultures of stool from adult inpatients as a function of the time after hospital admission was assessed. Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shigella or Yersinia spp. were recovered from 10.9% (41/377) of patients within three days of hospitalization and from only 1.5% (5/344) after three days. However, a review of these patients' charts did not suggest nosocomial transmission but rather a delay in stool collection or asymptomatic carriage. Clostridium difficile was isolated with a high frequency in patients both within and after three days of hospitalization (10.3% and 10.2%, respectively). Thus, stool specimens from adults hospitalized for more than three days should not be cultured except for Clostridium difficile unless there are plausible clinical or epidemiological reasons to do so.European Journal of Clinical Microbiology 05/1995; 14(4):346-9. · 3.02 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although Clostridium difficile is the main agent responsible for nosocomial diarrhea in adults, its prevalence in stool cultures sent to hospital microbiology laboratories is not clearly established. To determine the prevalence of C difficile in inpatient stools sent to hospital microbiology laboratories and to assess the relationship between serotypes and toxigenicity of the strains isolated and the clinical data. From January 18, 1993, to July 31, 1993, the presence of C difficile was systematically investigated in a case-control study on 3921 stool samples sent for stool culture to 11 French hospital microbiology laboratories. The prevalence of C difficile in this population (cases) was compared with that of a group of 229 random hospital controls matched for age, department, and length of stay (controls). Stool culture from controls was requested by the laboratory although not prescribed by the clinical staff. Serotype and toxigenesis of the strains isolated were compared. The overall prevalence of C difficile in the cases was twice the prevalence in the controls (9.7% vs 4.8%; P < .001) and was approximately 4 times as high in diarrheal stools (ie, soft or liquid) as in normally formed stools from controls (11.5% vs 3.3%; P < .001). The strains isolated from diarrheal stools were more frequently toxigenic than those isolated from normally formed stools. Serogroup D was never toxigenic, and its proportion was statistically greater in the controls than in the cases (45% vs 18%; chi 2 = 5.2; P < .05). Conversely, serogroup C was isolated only from the cases. Clostridium difficile was mainly found in older patients ( > 65 years), suffering from a severe disabling disease, who had been treated with antibiotics and hospitalized for more than 1 week in long-stay wards or in intensive care. This multicenter period prevalence study clearly supports the hypothesis of a common role of C difficile in infectious diarrhea in hospitalized patients. Disease associated with C difficile should therefore be systematically evaluated in diarrheal stools from inpatients.Archives of Internal Medicine 07/1996; 156(13):1449-54. · 11.46 Impact Factor