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Int J Food Microbiol. 2011 Jan 5;144(3):561-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2010.11.007. Epub 2010 Nov 13.

Prevalence of Clostridium difficile in retailed meat in the Netherlands.

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Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (VWA), PO Box 202, 7200 AE Zutphen, The Netherlands.


Recent reports indicate that a large proportion of community-acquired Clostridium difficile infections (CA-CDI) are not linked to recent antibiotic therapy, older age, significant comorbidity or previous hospitalization. Possible community sources for CA-CDI include animals and food, and therefore a surveillance study on the prevalence of C. difficile in meat was performed. Samples of different meat species were collected from the retail trade and analyzed for the presence of C. difficile using a method that included selective enrichment in C. difficile broth, subsequent alcohol shock-treatment and plating onto C. difficile selective medium. C. difficile isolates were tested for the presence of toxin genes and were typed using PCR ribotyping. Of 500 samples tested, 8 (1.6%) were positive for the presence of C. difficile: 1 from lamb (6.3%) and 7 from chicken meat (2.7%). The isolated strains belonged to PCR ribotypes different from those that are currently most frequently found in patients with CDI in the Netherlands, except for C. difficile PCR ribotype 001 which was found in one chicken meat sample. This observation suggests that other matrices than meat may serve as a source for CA-CDI.

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