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Characterization of an outbreak of Clostridium perfringens food poisoning by quantitative fecal culture and fecal enterotoxin measurement.

By G Birkhead, R L Vogt, E M Heun, J T Snyder and B A McClane


Published criteria for implicating Clostridium perfringens as the cause of food-poisoning outbreaks include finding a median fecal C. perfringens spore count of greater than 10(6)/g among specimens from ill persons. We investigated a food-poisoning outbreak with the epidemiologic characteristics of C. perfringens-related disease in a nursing home in which the median fecal spore count for ill patients (2.5 X 10(7)/g) was similar to that for well patients (4.0 X 10(6)/g), making the etiology of the outbreak uncertain. All ill and well patients tested had eaten turkey, the implicated food item. C. perfringens enterotoxin was detected by reverse passive latex agglutination in fecal specimens from six of six ill and none of four well patients who had eaten turkey (P = 0.005), suggesting that this organism had caused the outbreak. This investigation suggests that detection of fecal C. perfringens enterotoxin is a specific way to identify this organism as the causative agent in food-poisoning outbreaks

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1988
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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