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Article Title

The level of fecal carriage and the toxic potential of Clostridium perfringens in the feces of a Taiwan subpopulation

Abstract

Clostridium perfringens ranks among the most common agents of food poisoning in industrialized nations. Little is known about the level of fecal carriage and the toxic potential of this microorganism in Taiwan. One of the criteria to confirm that C. perfringens was the causative agent of food poisoning is to isolate 105 organisms/g from stools of food poisoning patients. The aim of the present study was to determine the carriage of C. perfringens in the feces of a Taiwan subpopulation. The percentage of strains that have toxic potential was also determined by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay and reverse passive latex agglutination (RPLA). As a result, 30 (60%) of the 50 fecal samples carried C. perfringens. The spore counts were between 50 and 2.5×108 CFU/g. The average spore count of all the test samples was 4.3×102 CFU/g. Eleven (22%) of the samples carried more than 105 spores per gram. Only three (1.8%) isolates from fecal samples were cpe gene positive. The RPLA results were in accordance with the genotypic results. Our findings emphasize that the culture of C. perfringens from fecal samples needs to be supplemented with presence of cpe gene or enterotoxin production in the outbreak situation.

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