SILVER SPRING, Md., April 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today cleared a test called the Cepheid Xpert C. difficile/Epi assay that is designed to rapidly detect the toxin B gene associated with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), a cause of diarrhea that can lead to colitis, other serious intestinal conditions and death in severe cases.


Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) bacteria are found in the stool of an infected person. Others can become infected if they touch items or surfaces contaminated with the bacteria or spores and then touch their mouth.

The Cepheid Xpert C. difficile/Epi assay is automated and works on the Cepheid GeneXpert Dx System to detect toxin gene sequences associated with toxigenic C. difficile. The Cepheid GeneXpert Dx System consists of an instrument that houses single-use disposable cartridges, a personal computer, and software that allow a laboratory technician to run tests and view test results quickly.

The test, Cepheid Xpert C. difficile/Epi assay, determines if C. difficile is in a patient's stool and also detects if the C. difficile is the epidemic 027/NAP1/BI strain, which has been associated with a marked increase in the severity and incidence of CDI in North America and Europe over the past decade.

The test is intended for use as an aid in the diagnosis of CDI. The detection of the 027/NAP1/B1 strain is for epidemiological purposes only and should not be used to determine or monitor treatment. Health care facilities should monitor the number of C. difficile infections and, especially if rates at the facility increase, the severity of disease and patient outcomes.

"Health care professionals in the infectious disease community who have seen various out