Microbiology, Epidemiology and Diagnosis of Clostridium difficile Infection

  • J. S. Brazier
  • S. P. Borriello
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 250)


Clostridium difficile made its first appearance in the literature when Hall and O’Toole (1935) described Bacillus dificilis as part of the bacterial flora of the meconium and faeces of infants. Although they postulated that toxins from certain strains, when liberated in the infant gut, might play a role in conditions such as the formation of occult blood and febrile convulsions of the newborn. it was not until 1969 that the first real clue to the pathogenic potential of this organism to mammals in the absence of competing colonic microbiota was provided. In experiments on germ-free rats, it was noted that mono-contamination with C. difficile often led to development of transient diarrhoea, which occasionally caused death (Hnmmarstrom et al. 1969). The significance of this finding remained unappreciated until the mid 1970s.


Stool Specimen Toxigenic Strain Pyrolysis Mass Spectrometry Cytotoxin Assay Diarrhoeal Stool 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. S. Brazier
    • 1
  • S. P. Borriello
    • 2
  1. 1.Anaerobe Reference Unit, Public Health LaboratoryUniversity Hospital of WalesCardiffUK
  2. 2.Central Public Health LaboratoryLondonUK

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