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The rapid identification of Clostridium perfringens as the possible aetiology of a diarrhoeal outbreak using PCR

  • J. P. LOH (a1), Y. C. LIU (a1), S. W. CHEW (a1), E. S. ONG (a2), J. M. FAM (a2), Y. Y. NG (a2), M. B. TAYLOR (a3) and E. E. OOI (a1) (a3)...

Summary

A gastroenteritis outbreak occurred in a military camp where a laboratory and epidemiological investigation was carried out. The early onset of symptoms indicated probable food contamination with Clostridium perfringens. Stool samples collected from affected patients were tested within 4 h via real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the presence of the C. perfringens plc gene. Ten out of the 12 stool samples were positive. Confirmation of the molecular test results was carried out by enumeration of C. perfringens in stool by culture and shown to be in excess of 106 spores/g stool. The isolates obtained from culture were further analysed by PCR for the presence of the chromosomal enterotoxin (cpe) gene. Based on the clinical symptoms, epidemiological and laboratory investigations, C. perfringens was implicated as the aetiological agent. The ability to conduct real-time PCR analysis greatly shortens the time to diagnosis and allows for preventive and control measures to be effected quickly.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Mr Jin Phang Loh, Defence Medical and Environmental Research Institute, DSO National Laboratories, 27 Medical Drive, #13-00, Singapore117510. (Email: jimmyloh@dso.org.sg)

References

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1. Hauschild, AHW. Criteria and procedures for implicating Clostridium perfringens in foodborne outbreaks. Canadian Journal of Public Health 1975; 66: 388392.
2. CDC. Foodborne disease outbreaks annual summary, 1982. Centers for Disease Control, 1985, Atlanta, GA, USA.
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4. Siragusa, GR, et al. Molecular subtyping of poultry-associated type A Clostridium perfringens isolates by repetitive-element PCR. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2006; 44: 10651073.
5. CDC. Foodborne disease outbreaks 2004 summary statistics. Centers for Disease Control, 2004, Atlanta, GA, USA.
6. Wen, QY, Miyamoto, K, McClane, BA. Development of a duplex PCR genotyping assay for distinguishing Clostridium perfringens Type A isolates carrying chromosomal enterotoxin (cpe) genes from those carrying plasmid-borne enterotoxin (cpe) genes. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2003; 41: 14941498.
7. Awad, MM, et al. Synergistic effects of alpha-toxin and perfringolysin O in Clostridium perfringens-mediated gas gangrene. Infection and Immunity 2001; 69: 79047910.
8. O'Brien, DK, Melville, SB. Effects of Clostridium perfringens Alpha-toxin (PLC) and Perfringolysin O (PFO) on cytotoxicity to macrophages, on escape from the phagosomes of macrophages, and on persistence of C. perfringens in host tissues. Infection and Immunity 2004; 72: 52045215.
9. Roach, RL, Sienko, DG. Clostridium perfringens outbreak associated with minestrone soup. American Journal of Epidemiology 1992; 136: 12881291.

The rapid identification of Clostridium perfringens as the possible aetiology of a diarrhoeal outbreak using PCR

  • J. P. LOH (a1), Y. C. LIU (a1), S. W. CHEW (a1), E. S. ONG (a2), J. M. FAM (a2), Y. Y. NG (a2), M. B. TAYLOR (a3) and E. E. OOI (a1) (a3)...

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