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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Nov;31(11):3035-9. doi: 10.1007/s10096-012-1658-y. Epub 2012 Jun 17.

Evaluation of three enzyme immunoassays and a loop-mediated isothermal amplification test for the laboratory diagnosis of Clostridium difficile infection.

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Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Isala klinieken, Stilobadstraat 3, 8021AB, Zwolle, The Netherlands.


The laboratory diagnosis of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) consists of the detection of toxigenic Clostridium difficile, and/or its toxins A or B in stool preferably in a two-step algorithm. In a prospective study, we compared the performance of three toxin enzyme immunoassays (EIAs)-ImmunoCard Toxins A & B, Premier Toxins A & B and C. diff Quik Chek Complete, which combines a toxins test and a glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) antigen EIA in one device -and the loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay Illumigene C. difficile. In total 986 stool samples were analyzed. Compared with toxigenic culture as the gold standard, sensitivities, specificities, PPV and NPV values of the toxin EIAs were 41.1-54.8 %, 98.9-100 %, 75.0-100 % and 95.5-96.5 % respectively, of the Illumigene assay 93.3 %, 99.7 %, 95.8 % and 99.5 %. Illumigene assays performed significantly better for non-014/020 PCR-ribotypes than for C. difficile isolates belonging to 014/020. Discrepant analysis of three culture-negative, but Illumigene-positive samples, revealed the presence of toxin genes using real-time PCRs. In addition to the GDH EIA (NPV of 99.8 %), the performance of Illumigene allows this test to be introduced as a first screening test for CDI- or as a confirmation test for GDH -positive samples, although the initial invalid Illumigene result of 4.4 % is a point of concern.

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