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Lett Appl Microbiol. 2010 Apr;50(4):362-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2010.02802.x. Epub 2010 Jan 11.

Detection and characterization of Clostridium difficile in retail chicken.

Author information

1
Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada. jsweese@uoguelph.ca

Abstract

AIMS:

This study was designed to evaluate the prevalence of Clostridium difficile contamination of retail chicken.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Chicken legs, thighs and wings were purchased using a standardized method from retail outlets across Ontario, Canada. Selective culture was used for qualitative and quantitative detection of C. difficile. Clostridium difficile was isolated from 26/203 (12.8%) chicken samples; 10/111 (9.0%) thighs, 13/72 (18%) wings and 3/20 (15%) legs (P = 0.19). All isolates were ribotype 078, a strain that has been associated with food animals and potentially community-associated disease in humans. All positive samples were positive only on enrichment culture.

CONCLUSIONS:

Clostridium difficile could be found relatively commonly in retail chicken meat, albeit at low levels.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY:

This is the first study to report C. difficile in chicken meat. Contamination of meat with C. difficile strains implicated in human infections raises concerns about food as a source of C. difficile infection. The relevance of food contamination is completely unclear at this point but food should be investigated as a source of infection.

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