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Curr Microbiol. 1996 Oct;33(4):220-3.

Relapses or reinfections: analysis of a case of Clostridium difficile-associated colitis by two typing systems.

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Institute of Anaerobic Bacteriology, Gifu University, School of Medicine, 40 Tsukasa-machi, Gifu 500, Japan.


Immunoblotting and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of Clostridium difficile isolates were employed to differentiate reinfection by a newly acquired strain from relapse by an original strain in a 10-year-old patient with four episodes of C. difficile-associated colitis. Immunoblot typing demonstrated subserogroup K-1 of serogroup K for the first and second organisms, subserogroup A-1 of serogroup A for the third organism, and subserogroup G-4 of serogroup G for the fourth organism. PFGE analysis revealed consistent results with immunoblot analysis except that the strains from the fourth episode, whose DNA constantly degraded, were nontypable by this method. Five separate isolates of C. difficile from a specimen of each episode showed identical PFGE patterns, indicating that infections of multiple strains probably did not occur in this patient. These typing results suggested that the second episode after a 17-day course of vancomycin therapy represented a relapse by the strain causing the first episode, and that the third and fourth episodes after tapering vancomycin therapy were reinfections by other strains. Both immunoblot and PFGE typing systems are promising tools for analyzing recurrence of C. difficile infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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