Something fishy in your stir fry? - A survey of raw retail meat and fish in the UK for the presence of C.diff'
PHE ePoster Library. Kesby M. 09/12/17; 186675; 190
Michelle Kesby
Michelle Kesby
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Abstract IntroductionClostridium difficile is the main cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in UK hospitals. Asymptomatic carriage of C.difficile also occurs in the community. Healthcare-associated infections may result from hospitalisation of carriers and the genetic diversity of hospital C.difficile strains suggests acquisition from a large, currently unidentified, environmental reservoir. As C.difficile infects many animal species, a potential source could be contaminated retail meat and fish. International studies have found C.difficile in 2-50% of meat samples, but there have been no reported investigations of C.difficile in UK foodstuffs.MethodsA sensitive method of C.difficile detection by enrichment culture was developed in-house for investigating retail raw meat and fish samples (n=80). Samples were also examined for E.coli and other Clostridium species, as markers of faecal contamination. C.difficile isolates were confirmed by latex agglutination and MALDI-TOF and characterised by EIA for C.difficile toxins and PCR ribotyping.ResultsC.difficile (a non-toxigenic, ribotype 629 strain) was isolated from one (1.25%) sample (Vietnamese dried anchovies). E.coli and Clostridium species enumeration tests showed a high level of faecal contamination in samples and a potential route for transfer of C. difficile from the animal gut to meat during processing. ConclusionsUK retail raw meat/fish is a potential source of exposure to C.difficile, though we found a low level of contaminated samples and the risk of C.difficile colonisation or infection from consumption of contaminated food is unknown. Risk factors for community acquisition of C.difficile require further investigation. External funding details N/A
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