Rapid Detection of a C. difficile Toxins Through Laboratory Testing Accelerates Diagnosis and Treatment



Clostridium difficile is an anaerobic, spore-forming and Gram-positive bacillus. It is the major cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea prevailing in hospital settings. The morbidity and mortality of C. difficile infection (CDI) has increased significantly due to the emergence of hypervirulent strains.

Because of the poor clinical different between CDI and other causes of hospital-acquired diarrhea, laboratory test for C. difficile is an important intervention for diagnosis of CDI.


Laboratory tests for CDI can broadly detect either the organisms or its toxins. Currently, several laboratory tests are used for diagnosis of CDI, including

toxigenic culture,

glutamate dehydrogenase detection,

nucleic acid amplification testing, cell cytotoxicity assay,

and enzyme immunoassay towards toxin A and/or B.

This review focuses on the rapid testing of C. difficile toxins and currently available methods for diagnosis of CDI, giving an overview of the role that the toxins rapid detecting plays in clinical diagnosis of CDI.