JM Parnell et al. JPGN 2021; 72: 378-383. Two-step Testing for Clostridioides Difficile is Inadequate in Differentiating Infection From Colonization in Children
In this prospective study, the authors enrolled asymptomatic pediatric patients (n=225) and compared C diff testing results with symptomatic patients (n=41) with positive nucleic-acid amplification-based testing (NAAT).
- Of the 225 asymptomatic children enrolled in the study, 47 (21%) were colonized with C. difficile including 9/59 (15.5%) with cancer, 30/92 (32.6%) with CF, and 8/74 (10.8%) with IBD.
- Overall, “use of a multistep testing algorithm with NAAT followed by EIA failed to differentiate symptomatic CDI from asymptomatic colonization in our pediatric cohort.” When symptomatic and colonized children were compared, neither EIA (enzyme immunoassay) positivity (44% vs 26%, P = 0.07) nor CCNA (functional cell cytotoxicity neutralization assay) positivity (49% vs 45%, P = 0.70) differed significantly
My take: Don’t test children who are asymptomatic for Clostridium difficile. Even in children with symptoms, C diff positivity could reflect colonization and symptoms could be due to other etiologies.
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