Comparison of strain typing results for Clostridium difficile isolates from North America

Fred C. Tenover, Thomas Åkerlund, Dale N. Gerding, Richard V. Goering, Therése Boström, Anna Maria Jonsson, Edith Wong, Alan T. Wortman, David H. Persing

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81 Scopus citations


Accurate strain typing is critical for understanding the changing epidemiology of Clostridium difficile infections. We typed 350 isolates of toxigenic C. difficile from 2008 to 2009 from seven laboratories in the United States and Canada. Typing was performed by PCR-ribotyping, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and restriction endonuclease analysis (REA) of whole-cell DNA. The Cepheid Xpert C. difficile test for presumptive identification of 027/NAP1/BI isolates was also tested directly on original stool samples. Of 350 isolates, 244 (70%) were known PCR ribotypes, 224 (68%) were 1 of 8 common REA groups, and 187 (54%) were known PFGE types. Eighty-four isolates typed as 027, NAP1, and BI, and 83 of these were identified as presumptive 027/NAP1/BI by Xpert C. difficile. Eight additional isolates were called presumptive 027/NAP1/BI by Xpert C. difficile, of which three were ribotype 027. Five PCR ribotypes contained multiple REA groups, and three North American pulsed-field (NAP) profiles contained both multiple REA groups and PCR ribotypes. There was modest concordance of results among the three methods for C. difficile strains, including the J strain (ribotype 001 and PFGE NAP2), the toxin A-negative 017 strain (PFGE NAP9 and REA type CF), the 078 animal strain (PFGE NAP7 and REA type BK), and type 106 (PFGE NAP11 and REA type DH). PCR-ribotyping, REA, and PFGE provide different but overlapping patterns of strain clustering. Unlike the other methods, the Xpert C. difficile 027/NAP1/BI assay gave results directly from stool specimens, required only 45 min to complete, but was limited to detection of a single strain type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1831-1837
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)


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