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Detection of Clostridium perfringens and its enterotoxin in cases of sporadic diarrhoea.
  1. M M Brett,
  2. J C Rodhouse,
  3. T J Donovan,
  4. G M Tebbutt,
  5. D N Hutchinson
  1. Food Hygiene Laboratory, Central Public Health Laboratory, London.


    AIMS: To determine the incidence of sporadic and apparently non-food related diarrhoea associated with Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin. METHODS: Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and reversed phase latex agglutination (RPLA) were used to detect C perfringens enterotoxin in faecal specimens from 818 sporadic cases of diarrhoea. RESULTS: C perfringens enterotoxin was identified as a cause of sporadic diarrhoea in 56 of 818 (6.8%) cases. Diarrhoea was prolonged (three days or more) in most cases. Ages ranged from 3 months to 89 years, although most patients were over 60 years of age. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that C perfringens may be a cause of sporadic cases of diarrhoea when causes such as food consumption or cross-infection are absent, particularly in the elderly.

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