Isolation and molecular characterization of Clostridium difficile strains from patients and the hospital environment in Belarus

Leonid Titov, Natalia Lebedkova, Alexander Shabanov, Yajarayma J. Tang, Stuart H Cohen, Joseph Silva

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Toxigenic Clostridium difficile is the most common etiologic agent of hospital-acquired diarrhea in developed countries. The role of this pathogen in nosocomial diarrhea in Eastern Europe has not been clearly established. The goal of this study was to determine the prevalence of C. difficile in patients and the hospital environment in Belarus and to characterize these isolates as to the presence of toxin genes and their molecular type. C. difficile was isolated from 9 of 509 (1.8%) patients analyzed and recovered from 28 of 1,300 (2.1%) environmental sites cultured. A multiplex PCR assay was used to analyze the pathogenicity locus (PaLoc) of all isolates, and strain identity was determined by an arbitrarily primed PCR (AP-PCR). The targeted sequences for all the genes in the PaLoc were amplified in all C. difficile strains examined. A predominantly homogenous group of strains was found among these isolates, with five major AP-PCR groups being identified. Eighty-three percent of environmental isolates were classified into two groups, while patient isolates grouped into three AP-PCR types, two of which were also found in the hospital environment. Although no data on the role of C. difficile infection or epidemiology of C. difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) in this country exist, the isolation of toxigenic C. difficile from the hospital environment suggests that this pathogen may be responsible for cases of diarrhea of undiagnosed origin and validates our effort to further investigate the significance of CDAD in Eastern Europe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1200-1202
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology

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