Evaluation of three commercial enzyme immunoassay kits for detecting faecal Clostridium difficile toxins.


The detection of faecal cytotoxicity using tissue culture was compared with three commercial Clostridium difficile enzyme immunoassay (EIA) kits; Premier C difficile toxin A (Meridian Diagnostic, Inc.); CD-TOX C difficile toxin A (Porton Cambridge); and Cytoclone A+B EIA (Cambridge Biotech Corporation). Of 160 faecal samples examined by all four methods, 52 (32.5%) were cytotoxic, 44 (27.5%) were positive by Premier, 48 (30%) by CD-TOX EIA, and 50 (31.3%) with Cytoclone. When compared with detection of cytotoxicity by tissue culture assay, the following performance indices were obtained: Premier, sensitivity 84.1%, specificity 99.1%, positive predictive value (PPV) 97.8%, negative predictive value (NPV) 93%; CD-TOX, sensitivity 92.3%, specificity 88.0%, PPV 78.7%, NPV 95.9%; Cytoclone, sensitivity 96.2%, specificity 93.5%, PPV 87.7%, NPV 98.1%. EIA results were available within three hours, whereas the results of the cytotoxin assay were available after 24-48 hours. All three kits provided satisfactory results and, although relatively expensive, all could be used in the laboratory effectively to screen for diarrhoeal disease associated with C difficile.

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