A total of 329 selective enrichment broth cultures were tested for detection of Clostridium difficile by latex particle agglutination (LPA), gas-liquid chromatography, and bacterial culture. Of 53 broths positive by LPA, 36 were positive by gas-liquid chromatography, and 42 were positive by bacterial culture. The sensitivity and specificity of LPA relative to bacterial culture was 95.6% and 96.3%, respectively, while the sensitivity and specificity of gas-liquid chromatography relative to bacterial culture was 84.6% and 100%, respectively. The high predictive value of a negative test (99%) should make LPA on broth cultures a good screening test for detecting C difficile. Of several other Clostridium spp tested in pure culture, strains of C sordellii and C bifermentans also gave a positive result by LPA. These results, together with the low cost and simple facilities required, suggest that the LPA test will be a useful procedure for the presumptive identification of C difficile in selective enrichment broths and for the identification of pure cultures.
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