Article

Rapid molecular characterization of Clostridium difficile and assessment of populations of C. difficile in stool specimens.

Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY 12201-2002, USA.
Journal of clinical microbiology (Impact Factor: 4.23). 05/2009; 47(7):2142-8. DOI: 10.1128/JCM.02498-08
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Our laboratory has developed testing methods that use real-time PCR and pyrosequencing analysis to enable the rapid identification of potential hypervirulent Clostridium difficile strains. We describe a real-time PCR assay that detects four C. difficile genes encoding toxins A (tcdA) and B (tcdB) and the binary toxin genes (cdtA and cdtB), as well as a pyrosequencing assay that detects common deletions in the tcdC gene in less than 4 h. A subset of historical and recent C. difficile isolates (n = 31) was also analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to determine the circulating North American pulsed-field (NAP) types that have been isolated in New York State. Thirteen different NAP types were found among the 31 isolates tested, 13 of which were NAP type 1 strains. To further assess the best approach to utilizing our conventional and molecular methods, we studied the populations of C. difficile in patient stool specimens (n = 23). Our results indicated that 13% of individual stool specimens had heterogeneous populations of C. difficile when we compared the molecular characterization results for multiple bacterial isolates (n = 10). Direct molecular analysis of stool specimens gave results that correlated well with the results obtained with cultured stool specimens; the direct molecular analysis was rapid, informative, and less costly than the testing of multiple patient stool isolates.

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