The Clostridium difficile toxin test is done to diagnose diarrhea associated with intake of antibiotics. It can even be used to determine the condition of pseudomembranous colitis. Recurrent disease can also be diagnosed by this test. If the test results are positive the individual is instructed to discontinue antibiotic medication. The appropriate antibiotic treatment is then prescribed, which will help to remove the C. difficile bacteria from the body.
The detection of Clostridium difficile toxin in the faeces is usually done when an individual who has been hospitalized is experiencing symptoms of loose stools, fever, nausea, and pain in the abdomen after taking a course of antibiotic treatment. For outpatients, the test is ordered if the individual has experienced these symptoms for about six to eight weeks after antibiotic treatment. This test is done when other causes of diarrhea such as parasites are not present.
If the Clostridium difficile toxin test is positive then it is possible that the individual has diarrhea caused due to the production of toxins by the C. difficile bacteria. In certain cases, the result may be a false positive if there is blood discharge in the stool sample. If the test turns out negative, but the symptoms of diarrhea continue, then the test must be done on another stool sample as it may have missed the toxin the first time. Negative results could also indicate that the diarrhea is begins caused by a factor other than the C. difficile bacteria.
A rapid test can also be performed to detect an antigen which occurs in the presence of all C. difficile strains of bacteria. Additional testing must be done to detect clostridium difficile toxin A and B so that C. difficile related disease can be confirmed. Usually, C. difficile toxin A and B is detected using immunoassay, a rapid enzyme. The test results are obtained after one to four hours. A cytotoxin test is a more sensitive way of toxin detection. The results of this test are available a day or two days later. An endoscopic method is also used in some cases. Detection of C. difficile toxin A and B may also be done through molecular testing. But this does not tell if the infection is an active one or has occurred at a prior time as it is possible for the toxin to be detected even after the individual has long recovered.