Raw animal meats as potential sources of Clostridium difficile in Al-Jouf, Saudi Arabia

Ahmed Taha 1 , 2 , *
Author Information & Copyright
1Microbiology and Immunology unit, Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, Jouf University, Al-Jouf, Saudi Arabia. 2 Medical Microbiology and Immunology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Mansour, Sakaka 7352, Saudi Arabia.
2Medical Microbiology and Immunology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt.
*Corresponding Author: Ahmed E. Taha, E-mail:

© Copyright 2021 Korean Society for Food Science of Animal Resources. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: May 26, 2021 ; Revised: Aug 07, 2021 ; Accepted: Aug 10, 2021

Published Online: Aug 19, 2021


Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) present in feces of food animals may contaminate their meats and act as a potential source of C. difficile infection (CDI) to humans. C. difficile resistance to antibiotics, its production of toxins and spores play major roles in the pathogenesis of CDI. This is the first study to evaluate C. difficile prevalence in retail raw animal meats, its antibiotics susceptibilities and toxigenic activities in Al-Jouf, Saudi Arabia. Totally, 240 meat samples were tested. C. difficile was identified by standard microbiological and biochemical methods. Vitek-2 compact system confirmed C. difficile isolates were 15 ⁄ 240 (6.3%). Toxins A/B were not detected by Xpect C. difficile toxin A/B tests. Although all isolates were susceptible to vancomycin and metronidazole, variable degrees of reduced susceptibilities to moxifloxacin, clindamycin or tetracycline antibiotics were detected by Epsilon tests. C. difficile strains with reduced susceptibility to antibiotics should be investigated. Variability between the worldwide reported C. difficile contamination levels could be due to absence of a gold standard procedure for its isolation.Establishment of a unified testing algorithm for C. difficile detection in food products is definitely essential to evaluate the inter-regional variation in its prevalence on national and international levels. Proper use of antimicrobials during animal husbandry is crucial to control the selective drug pressure on C. difficile strains associated with food animals. Investigating the protective or pathogenic potential of non-toxigenic C. difficile strains and the possibility of gene transfer from certain toxigenic/antibiotics-resistant to non-toxigenic/antibiotics-sensitive strains, respectively, should be worthy of attention.

Keywords: Animal meat; Diarrhea; Pseudomembranous colitis; Resistance; Spores

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