Real-time polymerase chain reaction method for detection of toxigenic Clostridium difficile from stools and presumptive identification of NAP1 clone
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This study describes the development of a cost-effective, multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (RTPCR) method for detection of toxigenic Clostridium difficile from stools and presumptive identification of the NAP-1 strain. The diagnostic value of the new method is for the detection of toxigenic C. difficile which has the following performance characteristics: 99.8% specificity, 95.1% sensitivity, 97.5% positive predictive value, and 99.5% negative predictive value. Examination of 24 specimens presumptively identified as NAP1 strain by RTPCR with Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis performed on C. difficile isolated from those specimens showed 100% agreement. This RTPCR showed equivalent test performance characteristics as the 2 commercially available assays which were evaluated. The estimated cost per test is CAD$9.50 and which is significantly less than the commercial assays. The average turnaround time from setup to detection is 3.5 h. The RTPCR method described here is a cost-effective and highly sensitive test which can be implemented in a clinical laboratory to assist clinicians in establishing the diagnosis of C. difficile infection and indirectly determine the presence of the hypervirulent epidemic binary toxin (BI)/NAP 1 strain for prompt infection control interventions.
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