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Clostridium difficile

Alias: C.diff, Stool, Faeces, Pseudomembranous Colitis

Discipline: Clinical Microbiology

Test information: Diagnosis of Clostridium difficile infection.

Availability: Available locally during routine hours: 08:45 - 21:00.

Turnaround Time: 24 hours

Related Tests: Faecal Culture / PCR

Specimen Type(s)
  • Faeces;
Other Acceptable Specimen Type(s)
Unformed (liquid or soft) stool specimens collected from patients suspected of having C.difficile infection.
Specimen Container - Adult
  • Fecon 27mL Clear Polypropylene Container with spoon;
  • Plain Universal;
Specimen Container - Paediatric
  • Fecon 27mL Clear Polypropylene Container with spoon.;
  • Sterile CE-marked Universal Container;
  • C.difficile tcdB (toxin B gene);
  • C.difficile Toxin A;
  • C.difficile Toxin B;
  • Glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH);
Part of a test profile?
Volume (min) of sample to be sent to laboratory
Patient Preparation, Sample Handling and Transport
  • Do not send more than one specimen from the same patient on the same day.
  • Take sample as soon as possible after onset of symptoms.
  • Specimen may be passed into a clean, dry, disposable bedpan or similar container and transferred to a leak proof container. The specimen is unsatisfactory if any residual soap, detergent or disinfectant remains in the pan.
  • Specimens should be transported to the laboratory without delay during normal working hours.
  • If transport is delayed store at 2-8 °C.
  • Specimens of faeces must be transported to the laboratory and processed within two days of collection. Important pathogens such as Shigella species may not survive the pH changes that occur in faeces specimens which are not promptly delivered to the laboratory, even if refrigerated.
Maximum add on time
Units and Reference Ranges / Interpretation
C.difficile NOT detected.
Evidence of C. difficile colonisation but NOT toxin production. Risk assess for C. difficile infection, isolate if symptomatic, review antibiotics and PPI, consider probiotics, stop laxative. Refer to local C. difficile policy for further guidance.
C.difficile infection confirmed.
UKAS number
UKAS accredited test?

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Last updated: 01-06-2023