Testing times for C. difficile

Clostridium difficile is a spore-forming Gram-positive bacterium that can be found in stool specimens of many healthy children aged under two years, and some adults. Following antimicrobial treatment, toxin-producing strains of C. difficile are a common cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. 

C. difficile is a major nosocomial pathogen causing a range of symptoms from mild to severe diarrhoea and is the aetiological agent of pseudomembranous colitis. Most toxigenic strains produce two cellular cytotoxins, A and B, responsible for the clinical features of infection.

Rising Incidence

There are several possible explanations for the rise in C. difficile disease over the past three decades. Better detection methods have almost certainly contributed to the increase in reported cases.

High-frequency use of antibiotics and chemotherapeutics increases the likelihood of acquiring C. difficile-associated disease. Also, as the