The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence of cases of sporadic diarrhoea associated with enterotoxigenic Cases were identified by detection of enterotoxin with the Oxoid RPLA kit, with confirmation by ELISA, in faecal specimens from isolated incidents of diarrhoea and from which no other enteropathogen had been isolated. In a 2-month study, 65 (18%) of 370 specimens were enterotoxin positive. There was no predominant age group or sex in the enterotoxin-positive group, but a higher proportion (79 %) was resident in the community than were enterotoxin-negative cases (34%). Only four of the 65 enterotoxin-positive patients had received antibiotic therapy. Spore counts in most enterotoxin-positive patients were > 10 /g, indicating that detection of high numbers of is not useful in determining the aetiology of sporadic diarrhoea. Diagnosis should be confirmed by the detection of enterotoxin, but further work is required to assess whether an acceptable accuracy is obtained with the RPLA kit or whether ELISA is needed in all cases.


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