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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2012 Aug;18(8):E266-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2012.03907.x. Epub 2012 Jun 4.

Antimicrobial susceptibility testing of Clostridium difficile using EUCAST epidemiological cut-off values and disk diffusion correlates.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.


With the emergence of reduced susceptibility of Clostridium difficile to metronidazole and vancomycin the value of antimicrobial susceptibility testing has increased. The aim of our study was to evaluate disk diffusion for susceptibility testing of C. difficile by comparing disk diffusion results with MICs from gradient tests and to propose zone diameter breakpoint correlates for the EUCAST epidemiological cut-off values (ECOFFs) recently published. We tested 211 clinical isolates of C. difficile, from patients with diarrhoea hospitalized at Aarhus and Odense University Hospitals, Denmark. Furthermore, ten clinical isolates of C. difficile from the Anaerobe Reference Laboratory, University Hospital of Wales, with known reduced susceptibility to either metronidazole or vancomycin, were included. Isolates were tested with Etest gradient strips and disk diffusion towards metronidazole, vancomycin and moxifloxacin on Brucella Blood Agar supplemented with hemin and vitamin K. We found an excellent agreement between inhibition zone diameter and MICs. For each MIC value, the inhibition zones varied from 0 to 8 mm, with 93% of values within 6 mm for metronidazole, 95% of values within 4 mm for vancomycin, and 98% of values within 4 mm for moxifloxacin. With proposed zone diameter breakpoints for metronidazole, vancomycin and moxifloxacin of WT ≥ 23 mm, WT ≥ 19 and WT ≥ 20 mm, respectively, we found no very major errors and only major errors below 2%. In conclusion, we suggest that disk diffusion is an option for antimicrobial susceptibility testing of C. difficile.

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