Clostridium difficile has a well documented role in pseudomembraneous colitis and diarrhea associated with antibiotics. Evidence has also implicated C. difficile in colitis not induced by antibiotics, exacerbations of chronic inflammatory bowel disease and postoperative diarrhoea. Many laboratories rely on the detection of C. difficile cytotoxin to diagnose infection. However, investigations have shown that the detection of faecal cytotoxin is not always consistent with active infection. This, plus the fact that some laboratories do not have the specialised facilities that are required to detect faecal cytotoxin, has highlighted the need for a test that is easy to use and gives rapid results for the identification of C. difficile. Use of Microgen® C. difficile allows identification of C. difficile from selective agar, within two minutes.
Traditional methods for identification of C. difficile includes GLC and cytotoxin detection. However, GLC is expensive in terms of time, equipment and cost per test and the link between presence of cytotoxin and symptoms is inconsistent. The test latex particles in Microgen® C. difficile are coated with antibodies specific for C. difficile somatic antigens, resulting in a highly specific test with a high predictive negative value. The flexibility of the test means that it can be used to test isolates directly form selective agar plates, such as CCFA.