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EACCAD — Result In Brief

Project ID: 37870
Country: Netherlands

Improving diagnosis of Clostridium difficile strains

Over the past years there has been an increase in Clostridium difficile-associated infections in hospitals throughout Europe. To control the outbreak of an epidemic, European scientists developed novel assays for readily diagnosing and monitoring microbial spread.
Improving diagnosis of Clostridium difficile strains
Clostridium difficile is an opportunistic bacterium that infects the intestine upon disruption of the normal intestinal flora. It has become one of the most common hospital-associated infections due to its antibiotic resistance and prevalence in the elderly population. Recently, a hypervirulent strain arrived in Europe that was previously confined to North America. This has contributed to a massive increase in incidences of Clostridium difficile-associated disease (CDAD) and associated deaths. To control an epidemic it is crucial to develop assays for rapid diagnosis and monitoring of such a hypervirulent strain.

The EU-funded ‘European approach to combat outbreaks of clostridium difficult associated diarrhoea by development of new diagnostic tests’ (Eaccad) project aimed to develop sensitive diagnostic tests that distinguish the hypervirulent and antibiotic resistant strains from ordinary Clostridium difficile. The consortium utilised DNA-based, antigen-based and antibiotic resistance determinants alongside DNA arrays to identify unique strain differences. These techniques were developed into assays by certain participating project partners.

The Eaccad project outputs will allow for the ready detection of Clostridium difficile hypervirulent and antibiotic-resistant strains, enabling the formulation of a strategy to fight bacterial spread. This will improve public health and cut down on costs for disease management.

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